What Windows 9 Must Do To Avoid Flopping Like Windows 8

Jan 17 2014, 5:00pm CST | by

What Windows 9 Must Do To Avoid Flopping Like Windows 8

Windows 8 is a flop. It is a painful thing to say about one of the most ambitious operating systems ever released, but the stats don’t lie. It has taken half the OS market share Windows 7 did in its first 12 months (10% vs. 20%) and now the adoption rate is so slow it is barely gaining on its 4 ½ year old predecessor. Finally Microsoft has had enough.

This week leaks flooded out that Windows 9 will be formally announced at Build, Microsoft’s annual developer event in April. If true this is an extraordinarily short gap for the company to jump between Windows versions and it is thought Windows 9 will formally go on sale in early 2015 as part of the ‘Threshold’ wave of updates it will apply to its Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox OSes.

But if Windows 9 is to avoid the pitfalls of Windows 8 it is going to have to make some major changes. These are my suggestions, and I welcome yours in the comments.

/>

No more split personality
In merging the traditional Windows desktop with a finger-friendly touchscreen interface Windows 8 broke new ground, but the implementation was jarring. Speculation is Microsoft may formally split the platform into formal desktop and Windows RT only versions, but that would be a backwards step./>

Instead the two need better integration. Syncing wallpapers between both was a step in the right direction, but the touch UI should have a transparent background to feel more like a flyover to the desktop and therefore never disorientating the user. It also needs to enable apps to operate on the desktop (not in a split window) to encourage greater use and spur on developers.

Remember most people still use a keyboard and mouse
The advances Windows 8 made in touch usability were negated by the ropey keyboard and mouse integration as Microsoft threw out the baby with the bathwater. Catering for new laptop and tablet form factors is well and good, but forgetting (or ignoring) 99 per cent of the market using traditional laptops and desktops was foolish. A new, universally accessible control method for Windows 9 is a priority – particularly for touchpads where compensatory gestures have become horribly fragmented between PC makers./>

/>

Learn to scale
/>
Ever since the iPhone ‘Retina Displayultra-high resolutions have been all the rage – first in phones, then tablets, now in laptops and desktops. Windows 8 coders failed to address this and the increasingly wide array of high resolution laptops and 4k monitors result in a ludicrous Windows 8 desktop experience. Websites and text have to be blown up around 200% while menus, tabs and other crucial parts of the user interface shrink becoming microscopic (above Windows 8 on a 3200 x 1800 pixel display).

The flaw is a lack of scaling, something Mac OS X wasn’t immune to when Apple launched Retina Display MacBook Pros but it still works better than Windows 8. The trouble is not only does the Windows 9 desktop need to scale, but it needs to introduce upscaling for legacy software to also make these programmes useable. A huge, but essential task.

Cold corners
Hot Corners’ were introduced in Windows 8 to bring some of the touch navigation gestures to keyboards and mice, but they are horrible. Hot Corners are activated when a mouse pointer ventures near the top left, top right and bottom right corners of the screen or when the pointer gets to the bottom left corner then moves vertically./>/>

Needless to say these areas of the screen are regularly visited by the cursor in normal use when looking to open, close, minimise or maximum windows and programmes. This causes endless frustration as users looking to manipulate windows are dragged off into touch gesture shortcuts and users looking for touch gesture shortcuts end up accidentally manipulating windows (image right – cursor over the close window option brings up the ‘Charms Bar’). At the very least there needs to be an option to disable Hot Corners, if not redesigning them completely.

Play nice with others
For Windows users part of the appeal is it is not Mac OS. That is Windows brings greater freedom to pick, choose and customise itself using the software you want in the manner you want. Windows 8 veers dangerously away from this imposing Windows Live accounts on all users, SkyDrive for backups, Bing for search and more. It is time Windows remembered where its appeal comes from in the first place./>

Better Windows Phone/Xbox integration
Microsoft may have thought it was leaping ahead of the pack with its revolutionary Windows 8 UI but, in truth, both Apple and Google better integrate their distinct mobile and desktop platforms. With Windows Phone 8.1 lifting the lid on hardware restrictions and the Xbox One launching with bags of unfulfilled potential Microsoft needs far better communication between these powerful platforms./>

This means synchronised media content, app purchases, remote control and if Sony can make PlayStation 4 content run on the Vita, Microsoft should be able to bring Xbox One gaming to Windows Phones and Windows 9 PCs and tablets. No company has Microsoft’s breadth of platforms, it needs to start capitalising on that.

9th Life
While it has not met commercial expectations, the good news for Microsoft is Windows 8 has already done much of the heavy lifting for Windows 9. It is fast, efficient, stable and has excellent inbuilt security. With this foundation the list above feels far from wishful thinking and Microsoft should be looking to implement them all and much more./>

Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously said Microsoft “bet the company” on Windows 8. It didn’t. With its vast wealth Microsoft took a calculated but affordable gamble. This time things are different. Windows 9 is not coming off the goodwill of a respected predecessor, PC and laptop sales are collapsing against the threat of tablets, Apple is edging ever closer to Mac OS XI and Google is starting to gain momentum in the desktop and laptop space with Chrome OS and Android – both of which are expected to unify during Windows 9’s lifetime.

Windows 9 is now where Microsoft bets the company.

Also on Forbes:/>/>

Microsoft Introduces the Surface Tablet

Source: Forbes Apple

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

The Best Black Friday iPad Deals
The Best Black Friday iPad Deals
The Apple iPad Black Friday 2014 Deals started to sell.
 
 
Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale has Started
Amazon Black Friday 2014 Sale has Started
The Amazon Black Friday 2014 sale is officially here. Earlier than ever Amazon offers Black Friday 2014 deals.
 
 
iPhone 6 Plus Delivery Time Reduced
iPhone 6 Plus Delivery Time Reduced
The shipping estimation of the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus has been down to 7-10 days
 
 
Best Buy Reveals Pre-Black Friday Offers for Apple Devices
Best Buy Reveals Pre-Black Friday Offers for Apple Devices
The iPad Air is being sold at a discount of $80-$100
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' series moves from NBC to Netfilx
Los Angeles, Nov 23 (IANS) Actress Tina Fey and Robert Carlock starrer comedy series "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" has been taken over by online streaming service Netflix from NBC. According to Deadline magazine,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
US and Turkey discuss possibility of regime change in Syria
Istanbul, Nov 23 (IANS) US Vice President Joe Biden met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul Saturday and discussed the possibility of a transition of power in Syria. "On Syria, we discussed ... not only...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US condemns Kenya bus attack, terms it 'horrific'
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) The US condemned "in the strongest terms", the attack on a bus in Kenya that killed 28 people, terming it as "horrific". The US extends its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Heidi Montag wants to age gracefully
Los Angeles, Nov 23 (IANS) Singer Heidi Montag, who has undergone ten cosmetic procedures, says she wants to "age gracefully". The 28-year-old singer discussed about her wish with Extra, reports contactmusic.com. The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kourtney Kardashian hints at Scott Disick split
Kourtney Kardashian has hinted her relationship with Scott Disick is on the rocks. The reality television star has been dating the 31-year-old hunk since 2006, but posted quotes from the Disney film 'Lilo & Stitch'...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kelly Brook engaged again?
Kelly Brook has sparked rumours that she is engaged again. The model - who will turn 35 on Sunday (23.11.14) - was seen sporting a huge jewel on her ring finger at the Teens Unite Charity Ball at Underglobe in London...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Heidi praises Spencer for 'best 8 years of my life'
Heidi Montag has praised Spencer Pratt for the ''best 8 years of my life (sic)''. The former 'The Hills' star gushed over her beau in a message online on Friday (21.11.14) to celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary....
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Bahrain sees 51.5 percent voter turnout in national elections
Manama, Nov 23 (IANS) Bahrain registered 51.5 percent turnout in the parliamentary and municipal elections Saturday, notwithstanding the opposition's call to boycott the elections. "The turnout today was 51.5 percent...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Black Friday 2014 Sales and Deals for 11/22
Friday was already a wild Black Friday 2014 sales day with $115 40-inch TVs and other hot doorbuster deals that Walmart matched. Saturday has not these dramatic deals like on Friday. There are still though plenty of...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
I was original: Aniston on Kardashian's nude picture
Los Angeles, Nov 23 (IANS) Shunning the hype around reality TV star Kim Kardashian's derriere picture, actress Jennifer Aniston says she bared her derriere way before Kardashian and it was original. Aniston posed nude...
Read more on Celebrity Balla