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As you know, Microsoft is already actively working on the next version of Windows, codenamed “Next Valley”. Development is currently in the early planning and design stages, so not much is known about the project. The public release of the system should take place at the end of 2024. And right now, when the release of “Windows 12” is about two years away, Windows Central portal decided to share my thoughts on what Microsoft should work on when creating a new version of the operating system.
But first, it should be noted that the commercial name of the next version of Windows is still unknown. Moreover, even Microsoft does not know it, since the release is still too far away. For simplicity, we will call it Windows 12, but in reality the system can get a completely different name.
Windows operating systems are used on all types of devices, whether high-performance workstations, gaming PCs, or low-cost education devices. The ecosystem is so vast that it makes no sense to use a one-size-fits-all strategy.
That is why Windows 12 should be automatically configured depending on the device on which the operating system is running. If you’re using Windows on a low-end device like a Chromebook, then the system must adapt to its characteristics to provide the best performance.
Think about whether you really need a widget bar on an inexpensive, low-end device? What about Xbox integration? What about the Connect to Phone app? Probably, they can be abandoned, thereby saving precious space on the PC.
Scalability can even extend to application compatibility. In fact, not all users and devices need full application compatibility. For example, Microsoft could leave support only for web applications, which would be quite appropriate for low-cost devices designed primarily for browsing the Internet.
This approach will reduce the resource consumption of the operating system, which means that inexpensive devices will work faster and be much more pleasant to use. Microsoft tried to achieve this goal within the framework of the Windows Core OS project, but, unfortunately, work in this direction has actually stopped.
Chrome OS proves that there is room in today’s world for a lightweight web-centric operating system. Microsoft is long overdue for a version of Windows that can compete with Google’s system.
But in the user interface, you should pay attention to the lock screen, which has hardly changed functionally since Windows 8. Now it only displays the current time and a certain type of notification selected by the user, be it calendar or weather alerts. This is clearly not enough.
But the potential of the lock screen is huge. In particular, full support for notifications should be added so that the user can examine missed messages without having to log in. In addition, you can make an interface for quickly creating notes both with a pen and with a keyboard and mouse.
Perhaps Microsoft should create a separate user interface built specifically for tablet devices. Of course, Windows 11 has a tablet mode, but in reality it’s still the same desktop interface, which has only been slightly adapted for touch screen control. And this is clearly not enough. Windows 12 needs a completely redesigned interface for tablet devices.
The Windows 8 operating system, despite all its shortcomings, had a great user interface for touch screen devices. It worked quickly, smoothly, and looked very nice. Of course, no one is asking for the return of the home screen or live tiles, but the system really needs a separate interface created only for tablets. And there is no need to try to implement it on those devices that do not support touch control. As practice shows, this does not lead to anything good.
This approach can be extended to other parts of the Microsoft ecosystem. For example, you can create a custom game mode that is specifically designed to be controlled with an Xbox controller. This can be called an analogue of the Big Picture mode on Steam, but on a Windows-wide scale. You can even borrow the Xbox dashboard interface, adapt it for PC and automatically activate when the user connects the controller.
Windows 11 has a pretty good integration with Android smartphones, but it’s far from perfect. If you think that Link to Windows looks like an application running on top of Windows, then you are absolutely right. The next step should be to integrate the application with the Windows shell for continuous access.
For example, you need the ability to view notifications from Android in a pop-up window on the taskbar. You can also place information about the battery life of your smartphone, a list of recent photos, buttons for controlling device functions, and so on. And you don’t have to open the Link to Windows app to do it.
Simply put, it’s time for Microsoft to make the same level of integration between Mac and iPhone. This will be a huge plus for the entire ecosystem.
Android integration could be improved too. For example, it would be nice to be able to quickly transfer an Office document or an email from a smartphone to a PC (or vice versa) with the click of a button.