Microsoft is gearing up for the 21st when they announce their consumer story of Windows 10. WinBeta has reported on what we can all expect to see on Wednesday, but we wanted to list a few items we think Microsoft needs to announce, a few topics we think they should announce, and finally the things we want to see Microsoft announce.
Windows 10 is something of a fresh start where Microsoft is trying to bring all their products into a unified platform. Previous attempts of unifying Microsoft's products were done very harshly with little choice for consumers to make changes. Now Microsoft is taking a new approach where their products have a common core, but unique user interfaces to fit each form factor.
In the past Microsoft took too big of a leap toward touch and forced the UI on every user. Now Microsoft is breaking UIs into more reasonable steps; targeting phones and tablets different from laptops and different from desktops and different from Xbox and Perceptive Pixel. The 21st will be the first glimpse into how Microsoft looks to compete in the consumer field of tablets and phones. Microsoft has always had a more difficult time selling to consumers, maybe the 21st will be the end of that.
Need to Announce
The first list is what we believe Microsoft needs to announce to stay relevant in consumer electronics.
- Clear naming convention to separate legacy Windows from modern Windows
- Concise app transition story, especially between Windows Phone 8.x and Windows Phone 10, or risk losing both users and developers
- Obvious differentiation between mobile and desktop Windows 10
There is a lot Microsoft could change when moving from Windows 8 to Windows 10, but what should they announce about the transition between the two OSes?
- Cheap or free upgrade path from older versions of Windows. If Windows 10 is really great some people might jump, but to guarantee a large install base a free upgrade is the way to go.
- Consistent feature sets and names across Windows, for example every version should have Cortana, Action Center, Word Flow keyboard, Live Folders, etc and they should have those consistent names.
- Massive range of support and flexibility. Windows 10 should be installable on almost any device, preventing devices from getting updates is a good way to leave consumers with a bad taste in their mouth.
Want to Announce
This is a list of features we would love to see Microsoft announce on the 21st, but we understand some of these may be farther out, or outside the scope of this announcement.
- Unified communications across Windows 10 would be a great way to make Windows 10 phones and tablets look attractive to Windows desktop users. Lots of people still use SMS/MMS and would like the ability to read and respond to messages via their other Windows devices.
- The return of Windows gaming could be massive for Microsoft with Windows 10. Leveraging the Xbox brand to push PC gaming with achievements, and more continuity between the Xbox and PC would be serious competition for Sony and Steam.
- Windows look and feel should be totally customizable from clean, sharp, and flat to rounded, flashy, and transparent. Users should get the choice without needing to install 3rd party tools, and the default can be the flat modern UI as long as the ability to change and customize is there as well.
In the end if Microsoft announces none of these things it won't be certain doom, it will just be interesting to see how they still plan to compete with the likes of iOS and Android. There are many different paths to success when it comes to what they could announce and it is exciting to see Microsoft begin a new chapter in their consumer story.