Today, D9 will show an early peek at the next version of Windows, currently expected to be released in 2012 with the name of Windows 8.
Spearheaded by Steven Sinofsky, the new version of Windows will build on the success of the current consumer offering, Windows 7. Steven is well known for keeping a tight ship, and making sure key information doesn’t leak, however there are a few known features which we think will bring us new business opportunities…
Windows on ARM-based Tablets
The vast majority of today’s smartphones and tablets are powered by ARM processors, not the Intel x86 ones that our laptops and desktops use. Windows 8 will arrive on both ARM and Intel x86, allowing new tablet-like form factors to run the full version of Windows. This is very important for the future of the Windows platform, meaning that in a few years even the phone version of Windows will use the same core operating system.
In the near-term, it simply means new types of Windows devices and new opportunities for selling apps on that platform. While it might take a while to catch up to the amazing success of the iPad, it probably won’t take long until Windows tablets are more popular than the likes of Blackberry, WebOS or even Android.
Jupiter & APPX
As part of the addition of the ARM processor, it’s expected that a new programming model will be introduced; this model called Jupiter uses an APPX package, which is based on the XAP format which is used by Windows Phone today.
Based on this, it is safe to assume that developers will be able to use Visual Studio and Expression Blend to create new types of applications which will run in a touch-friendly full screen environment. This will finally bring the vector-based graphics technology of WPF (originally released in 2006!) to the front and centre of Windows app development.
Along with a new app model comes a new user interface. While details haven’t been fully revealed (yet) – Windows 8 is expected to come with two different experiences, one for use with fingers and one for use with the more traditional keyboard and mouse. Referred to as “Immersive” in the leaked builds, this new interface is heavily based on the Windows Phone 7 metro design philosophy.
Developers and designers will need to hone their skills to ensure that apps are constructed to fit in with the look and feel of the immersive experience, while still enabling brands to stand out in the crowd.
Windows App Store
Unsurprisingly, a new app model requires a store. This new discovery of applications will allow us to help our clients sell directly to their customers and it’s something we’re very excited about. Though we don’t currently know what it will be called.