What I’d like to see in Windows ‘Blue’

It leaked out a little while ago that Microsoft is working on the next version of Windows that’s scheduled to come out in the summer of 2013, codenamed ‘Windows Blue’. This of course won’t be a major update, but rather an update to Windows 8 that’s a bit more than a Service Pack. Here’s what I would like to see in the update to Windows 8:

  • The dropping of the version number from the Intel/AMD version of Windows. Microsoft is moving away from version numbers in its products, as seen recently with ‘the new Office’ and ‘Windows RT’ without a version number. I think Windows for Intel/AMD processors, currently called Windows 8, should just be called Windows (and Windows Pro for extra features) with Windows RT staying as the ARM version.
  • Less reliance on the desktop. Though people with touchscreen’s can stay in the modern interface most of the time, they’re thrown back into the desktop at some points without wanting to be (e.g. deleting user accounts and choosing which updates to install). The modern PC Settings should have more features from the desktop Control Panel so touch users can avoid the desktop entirely.
  • A touch mode for File Explorer. I know I want to let touch users avoid the desktop entirely, but they may want to browse and manage their files. Currently, File Explorer is rubbish for touch and I think a touch mode like the ‘new office’ has would be great.
  • IE tab syncing. I would like to be able to see the tabs I have open on my desktop PC and my Windows Phone 8 device from my tablet. Simple.
  • In Windows RT, there should be an option to pay for other Office apps. In the first version of Windows RT (shipping soon), people get free Office Home & Student 2013 RT which includes just Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. That’s fine for consumers, but what about businesses who want to manage their email with more power than the built-in Mail client? There should be an option to purchase Outlook RT, Access RT and Publisher RT.
  • Talking about Mail, I would like more functionality please. I know the version of Mail I’m using now on Windows 8 Pro RTM probably won’t be the one generally used (I think Microsoft will update it via the Windows Store around 26th October), but if there isn’t, say, conversation view in the new version of Mail I’d like it in Blue please.
  • Skype app and Messaging app merged. We all know a Skype app is coming to the Windows Store soon, but I would like it merged into the built-in Messaging app (which currently supports the dying Windows Live Messenger and Facebook). When I say merge, I mean include the Skype app and just add Live Messenger and Facebook support. The Messaging app is rubbish.
  • Background audio in modern IE and Xbox Video. It’s really annoying when I’m watching a YouTube video in modern IE, I hit Start to check for new mail and lose the audio. Same for when I have the video app snapped to the side playing Windows Weekly. Background audio is in the music app, so why not in IE and Video?
  • Automatic download and install of new app updates from the Windows Store. I don’t want to manually click or touch ‘Update all’, I want my apps automatically updated! This feature is really needed.
  • Basic photo editing in the modern Photos app.
  • A free or very cheap price for this upgrade, with it being available soon after RTM and of course at least one beta being available (a year in stable software is just too much).

I think that’s about all. A long list for a year’s work, yes, but it’s mostly different teams so hopefully a lot can be done for next summer.

What would you like to see in the next version of Windows?

Windows '9' mockup logo

No, it probably won’t be called Windows 9.

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