Microsoft's Modern OS

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Microsoft’s Modern OS - What Can We Expect?

Microsoft’s modern operating system (OS) is still somewhat of a rumour. Windows Core OS, otherwise known as Windows Lite, has been in the works for many years, a well-kept secret by the software giant. However, the details of what we can expect are starting to come to light. At Computex last month, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, Nick Parker, dropped some pretty big hints about the future of Windows. While nothing has been officially unveiled, we can take some reasonable guesses as to what the modern, legacy-free OS might look like.

What is Windows Core OS?

What Windows Core OS is, is really the golden question that we all want to know the answer to. Microsoft wants to build a modern OS, a unified Windows experience. The modern operating system would be secure by default requiring it to become a lot more cloud-powered than what we have used to date. The operating system would need to work with 5G connectivity and to include a variety of inputs for the likes of voice and touch.

Why Microsoft Needs to Modernize its Operating System

The main driver for a modern operating system is as a support to the new modern PCs and innovative devices that are being built as part of the Microsoft ecosystem. To support the many devices that are coming onto the market, the operating system needs to have enablers, ensuring a smooth operation without any interruption to use. This would be a far cry from the Windows update experience that we are currently used to on Windows 10 today. The new Windows OS would need to be far more like Chrome to deliver on its promises, something that will be essential for the company to stay ahead of the game.

The Hints Dropped at Computex

In the usual secretive way, nothing was directly said at Computex regarding Microsoft Core OS, but some serious hints were dropped. The main focus of the talk at the Information Technology Show was surrounding new products within the PC ecosystem. The team highlighted partners such as Acer, HP and Dell that have announced new modern PCs able to deliver groundbreaking performance, enable incredible experiences and ensure ultimate security. There was, of course, also a focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge Computing. Microsoft aims to support this area of astounding growth and innovation with the right intelligent cloud services, software and development tools. Everything that Microsoft is promising is underpinned by the requirement for a new OS.

To deliver on their promises regarding the new modern PCs and their breakthrough performance, Microsoft will need to update its operating system. It is no longer a thing of rumour; we know it’s on the way. The hints that were dropped at Computex were fairly top-level, more about how it would feel than its inner workings. Nethertheless, the little that was said is still something to get excited about. Microsoft executives focused on the modern OS rather than the modern desktop, suggesting the ability to support the age of 5G and AI and really impress its customers. Nick Parker’s main hints were around the seamless user experience that a modern operating system could deliver:

  • Invisible updates - there should be no interruptions to user experience, everything should be done seamlessly, reliably and invisibly in the background.

  • AI-powered - delivering enhanced cloud-connected user experiences by using compute power. A modern OS would be aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and would support them in achieving it.

  • Multi-input - users would no longer be restricted by a keyboard or mouse. Whatever device they used, be it pen, voice or touch, it would be supported. Parker even suggested that gaze would be part of this.

  • Security by default - users will be protected by the state being separated from the operating system and compute being separated from applications.

  • Ever-present - every device will remain constantly connected and aware of a user’s other devices.

You can read more details on Microsoft’s Computex blog post. One of the most significant hints is the simple fact that the discussion surrounding a modern OS never refers to Windows. What we can be sure of is that we are going to see seamless updates, improved security and 5G connectivity as well as AI support, cloud-powered apps and new form factors.

When Will it Happen?

While we were expecting to hear more about Windows Lite at the Microsoft Build conference in May, we were left empty-handed. There is a Windows 10 update on the horizon, due in October this year. However,  even the details of that are pretty secretive. It may be that the plans for Windows Core OS have been delayed by the company's decision to switch to Chromium to support its Edge browser. There is no way for us to know what to expect in the immediate future, all that we know is that it is coming.

It could well be that the new operating system will be ready in 2020. Whether it will be called Core OS, Windows Lite or just LIte, we don’t know. However, it’s been a while since Microsoft has delighted its users with anything on the operating system front. It would seem that this is their opportunity, and that, hopefully, there should be a big reveal sometime soon. Watch this space.