After the inconvenience or debacle that Windows 8 and 8.1 turned out to be for many companies, get ready because here comes Windows 10. Microsoft announced it at the end of September, immediately making it an important topic for anyone in corporate information systems.
First thing to keep in mind is that the one operating system will have variations that run across a startlingly large array of devices. They include PCs, laptops, smartphones, enterprise servers, and even industrial controllers, sensors, and other aspects of the so-called Internet of things, where hardware of all sorts will send information out to be harvested and analyzed. That said, there is not a single user interface, because these items differ too greatly.
Instead, there will be one application platform, so software written for one type of device should, in theory, work on any. That could speak to a level of development efficiency that IT departments have never seen. But don’t depend too heavily on the idea in advance, because different devices will offer different capabilities, and there is only so much you can abstract in design.
Interfaces for most users will become a potential issue. There will be new Mac-like trackpad gestures. The good news is that OEMs won’t be designing their own variations, making a shift from one device to another more difficult. But that could require user training and support to counter some short- to mid-term confusion.
More importantly, there will be a start menu. Only, it doesn’t look exactly what you might remember from Windows 7 and Vista. Click on Start and you get a 7-style list of programs on the left-hand side of the menu. But on the right will be Windows 8-type tiles. The tiled part is customizable, so you can move tiles around and make the menu tall or wide.
Apps designed to run in the tiled interface can now also appear on the Desktop in a window. That should mean users can get access with a mouse and keyboard as well. That’s a big plus, as it could eliminate the need to shift to a touch interface to upgrade users, cutting the cost of new hardware. You can also resize and move them, rather than having them usurp the entire screen space. There will also be additional capabilities, such as virtual desktops that users can switch among.
In short, as some have said, Windows 10 may be what Windows 8 should have been in the first place. Consumer experience will no longer trump business use issues.