10 Features to Expect in Windows 9

10 Features to Expect in Windows 9
Cortana Will Be Making Her Presence Felt
Charms Are All but Dead
Yes, the Start Menu Is Coming Back in Full Force
Metro Apps—With Windows?
Finally, an End to Multiple Versions
Expect Some Serious Cloud Integration
Enhanced Gestures for the Tablet
Expect Some Broad Convergence
Don't Expect to Pay a Dime
Expected Final Build Launch Date: 2015
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10 Features to Expect in Windows 9

By Don Reisinger

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Cortana Will Be Making Her Presence Felt

Cortana is arguably one of the most important platforms Microsoft is promoting right now. While the virtual personal assistant might not have the same kind of impact as the Surface tablet or Office 365, it has proved to be better than Apple's Siri. Realizing that, the feature, which is available in Windows Phone, is expected to come to Windows 9. Cortana would seemingly make using the operating system a little easier. Whether it will, however, remains to be seen.

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Charms Are All but Dead

Charms, the feature that Microsoft brought to Windows 8 because it thought it would change how we all use its operating system, will be dead, according to several reports. Microsoft has realized that Charms, which was supposed to surface those items that mattered most and make the operating system easier to navigate, failed on both fronts. And now it's being left out of Windows 9.

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Yes, the Start Menu Is Coming Back in Full Force

All signs point to the Start Menu coming back in Windows 9. With the launch of Windows 8, the Start Menu was eliminated, making the operating system harder to use for those who weren't used to the new look and feel. Complaints about the operating system have continued and, according to reports, Microsoft has felt enough pressure to bring back the Start Menu in its next OS.

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Metro Apps—With Windows?

Microsoft isn't yet ready to give up Metro-looking applications, but the company has decided that windows really do matter. So, Windows 9 will launch with a hybrid of sorts, featuring Metro-style applications in full windows that can be maximized, minimized or x'd out. Yes, real windows functionality is coming back to Windows.

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Finally, an End to Multiple Versions

Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella indicated that multiple versions of Windows might be a thing of the past. He said he wanted to bring his Windows teams together and have them focus on a single operating system version for all. That's good to hear, and it should eliminate the complexity that has affected Windows versions all these years.

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Expect Some Serious Cloud Integration

It shouldn't surprise anyone if cloud integration makes its way to Windows 9. Nadella has been clear that he believes Microsoft needs to be a mobile-first, cloud-first company, and part of that will be integrating services such as OneDrive and maybe even elements of Office 365 into Windows 9.

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Enhanced Gestures for the Tablet

Since mobile is also very important to Microsoft, don't be surprised to see enhanced gesture support in the upcoming operating system. In fact, Windows 9 is expected to be optimized for the tablet form factor, making touch gestures all the more important. It's not clear what Microsoft has planned, but touch functionality will likely play a crucial role in Windows 9.

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Expect Some Broad Convergence

In his massive manifesto released earlier this summer about the future of Microsoft, Nadella said he believes his company can be successful by combining elements of its many platforms, including Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox. Expect a broad convergence in Windows 9 that will allow for easy integration between all of Microsoft's many software platforms.

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Don't Expect to Pay a Dime

Expect Windows 9 to be free for all users. Such a move is a response to Apple's own decision to make its recent operating systems available as free downloads. The future for Microsoft is not generating cash on Windows software; it's getting people to adopt Windows so they use its other, paid platforms. Nadella knows this and plans on leveraging that in the coming weeks.

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Expected Final Build Launch Date: 2015

The final build launch date for Windows 9 is currently slated for 2015, according to reports. While Microsoft will make the operating system available to test this fall, the company won't actually send out the final release until it's ready next year. So, while Windows 9 sounds promising, don't expect it to be making a splash anytime this year.

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