The countdown is on. Microsoft is set to reveal all the juicy details of Windows 8, when the first Build conference gets underway at 2AM AEST tomorrow morning. Thanks to posts from Steven Sinofsky on the Build Windows blog, together with videos from Microsoft we already know a few pieces of what’s going to be included in the next version of Windows.
What we don’t know is, well, quite a lot. There’s an awful amount of attention on Build because Microsoft has done a really good job of keeping secrets. While Build will last for 4 days, the crux of the announcements will come during the opening keynote tomorrow morning. Watching Microsoft’s movements leading up to the event, Windows 8 is being positioned as fundamentally different to the successful Windows 7, rather than simply further refinements.
So if Windows 8 is to be truly revolutionary, what does tomorrow’s Build announcement need to contain to blow us away ?
LiveID login to any Win8 machine
Using a single machine is a very rare occurrence these days, wether it be home and work, or tablet and pc, or using internet cafes and libraries, we all seem to be touching multiple machines. Managing data online is an important part of the decentralisation puzzle, but what about login credentials and personal preferences? How many hours do we spend configuring each machine individually? The answer, far too long. This could be, and should be tied to you as a person. Creating user accounts currently is an annoyingly isolated, machine-specific venture.
- Imagine using LiveID as your authentication method for any Windows 8 machine
- Imagine Microsoft allow 3rd party identity providers like Facebook and Twitter to do the same.
- Imagine if you could bring Applications as well, or purchase history like iTunes does now and easy option to download.
If Microsoft does indeed include this in Build, it will fundamentally change the way we think about computers and devices and current ownership models. Naturally you’d need to be online, at least the first time you login, then it could cache your profile for offline use.
Actually deliver on 3 screens and the cloud vision
For years we’ve heard on this strategy touted by Microsoft, but today’s experiences between the phone, desktop, tablet and tv is actually incredibly segregated. We’ve seen the graphic of the Tile / metro UI running across Windows Phone, computers and the Xbox. So with upgrades to each one of these key platforms, Microsoft has the potential to finally achieve this. In reality, I don’t think this will be a home run. Expect a good step in the right direction, but not a solution without compromises.
- Imagine a scenario where Windows Phone gets airplay style content sharing with the Xbox.
- Imagine Zune, WMP, WMC all combined to one useful media interface that works from 3” to 70”.
- Imagine everyone of your devices being a throwaway, a copy of all data online
Cloud storage given equal placement as local storage
Saving files through desktop software to online service providers is a hassle. Take Office 2010 for example, the Save As option is much more accessible and fast than navigating through Skydrive folders. This needs to be fixed for online storage to really be a serious option for mainstream consumers.
Those in the know usually store files locally, then setup syncing software like DropBox or Live Mesh to sync to the web, but you ask the average consumer in the street and I guarantee they’ve never used it.
- Imagine being able to set your default Save As destination as an online folder.
- Imagine Libraries supporting SkyDrive, Box.net, Google docs, Flickr and others.
- Imagine browsing web folders was as fast as local files in Windows Explorer.
There’s a number of Microsoft release dates that are yet to be revealed in the closing stages of 2011. Microsoft may start confirming the release dates for a number of upcoming releases.
- Windows 8
- Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)
- Commercial SDK and Marketplace for Kinect
- Skydrive upgrade
- Windows Live Wave 5
- Xbox Dashboard update
So what’s your list of Build announcements that you think Microsoft need to make for you to be blown away ? Comment away !