Microsoft has confirmed that the first major service pack to Windows 8 will be 8.1 or 'Blue' and will see the return of the START button to the bottom left of the desktop task bar. Currently you have to hover the mouse to bottom left corner of the desktop to get a thumbnail of the 'metro' tiled screen to popup.
The START button however will NOT display a popup menu like in Windows 7. Instead it will simply redirect the user back to the tiled metro screen where all application shortcuts are installed.
The second major change in 'blue' will be the option to boot straight into the desktop instead of booting into the tiled 'metro' or 'modern UI' as Microsoft wants us to officially refer to it.
This update will be released to partners in June 2013.
My take on this is that Microsoft simply got it wrong on a number of fronts:
- Most people running Windows are on PC's which are not touch enabled.
- Most new PC's sold in 2013 and in 2014 will not have touch screens, hence being 'all in' with touch was a mistake.
- Most people want compatibility between their favourite windows applications and the operating system.
- Software vendors do not have the time or money to re-write all apps specifically for touch.
- Microsoft did not provide the .Net run-time on Surface/Windows RT thus discouraging ISV's from developing apps for Windows 8.
TriSys has been a classic 'Microsoft Shop' for almost 20 years having originated in the world of Unix, however our patience has been severely tested of late given that Microsoft has changed direction on a number of fronts, including Windows detailed above. As a result, in future, we will be increasing the proportion of our R&D budget dedicated to non-Microsoft platforms (operating systems, browsers, databases, comms, devices). This will be good news for our customers who may be tempted towards touch devices in this now agreed 'Post-PC' era of computing.