Windows Blue is the best kept secret just after the real identity of Kaiser Soze. There are hundreds of pages of speculation out there on what it is or what it could be, but Microsoft lips have puckered up tighter than a snare drum, with nary the slightest notion. And yet, with an impending release date of mid to late 2013, the speculation has begun in earnest.
Admidst the hundreds of pages of articles out there speculating at to what this mysterious Windows Blue could be, there’s scarcely a note card’s worth of hard facts. Even those facts come from “undisclosed sources” who are closely guarded by large men with sunglasses and bad haircuts.
Fast, Iterative Updates
The one opinion out there that seems to make the most sense is that Windows Blue will be an update to the current Windows 8 operating system that will be updated on a one-year cycle, rather than the 2-4 year cycle we’ve all come to know
and love. Ok, well that we’ve all come to know. This may sound familiar to Mac OSX users out there who have enjoyed OS updates every 12-18 months since 1997.
The idea here is that faster more iterative updates to the operating system will allow Microsoft to keep up with emerging technologies as they become available, rather than having to wait for the release of an all new operating system to implement such updates.
But, what makes all the speculation out there so intriguing is that several sources suggest that Windows Blue will be the doorway toward multi-platform unification and will eventually be rolled out for PC’s, tablets, phones and extend to all devices across their ecosystem. Initially, Windows Blue and Windows Phone Blue will be entirely different animals, but the goal is not hard to determine here.
Plus, a fast upgrade cycle, in addition to keeping up with technology, will allow users to keep up with the implemented technology.
My day job is in technical support. I have supported users from Windows 98 and up. Seriously. Anecdotally, I can tell you, that no version of Windows from 98 on has so freaked the masses out more than Windows 8. I’ve heard it said that Microsoft spent the last 20 years teaching everyone in the world how to use a computer, and then suddenly, with Windows 8 said “Ok, now forget all that.” Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. But going forward, faster, more incremental updates may serve to not scare the bejesus out of people so much.
I suspect that had Microsoft been running this schedule for the last 5-6 years (you know, since Vista came out) maybe Windows 8 may not have been such a shock. First, you add a charms bar. Then a year later, you add live tiles (to coincide with Windows Phone 7 release). The next year, you add app searching. If no one has panicked and thrown their laptop into a microwave by then, perhaps you can safely take away the start button.
Windows Blue serves to allow for changes like that to take place. But I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you want another donut. Well, of course you do, but after that you’re thinking, “Adam, what does this have to do with phones? Well, I’ll tell you.
The Phone Connection
I mentioned before that Windows Blue will have a phone version as well. The same incremental updates that allow Microsoft to change Windows 8, will also allow incremental changes to the phone OS as well. The eventual goal here can be to bring what so many Windows Phone users want (or at least what this Windows Phone user wants) so badly – a unified ecosystem across all platforms. Right now, all we have are ecosystems that look alike. Those tiles on your desktop look and act like those tiles on your phone. But there’s little unity there. Apps don’t work across multiple platforms, updates don’t work the same way. It’s all rather random and not unified at all. This is because, in general, what works of a phone, doesn’t necessarily work on a tablet or PC and vice versa.
But Windows Blue can seek to bring them all together, making small adjustments to all platforms along the way, until all the ecosystems meet at Promontory Summit, Utah and we can drive that golden spike home. Then Microsoft will have delivered that which no other mobile operating system can…
One Blue to rule them all.