What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Well, if we were talking about a rose that may be true. But when talking about the next iteration of Windows, the last thing Redmond needs is a reason for people to poke fun at it. Those who do will miss the good changes promised for Windows 10.
The Windows 10 name game
Unfortunately the name "Windows 10" unveiled yesterday at the Future of Windows event (which lasted all of an hour) may give rise to a few jabs from the critics. You've probably seen the jokes already: Is it Windows 10 so there's real distance from Windows 8? Because odd-numbered Windows versions are the good ones? Because Microsoft wants people to think it's OS X?
I get the appeal of "10." We use 10 to connote excellence all the time. On a scale of 1 to 10, right? Of course, 10 is the best. "It/she/he's a 10" is meant to be a compliment with no higher possibility. Windows 10 is an obvious marketing move to imply greatness that a simple increment to 9 wouldn't have achieved. The idea of calling it Millennium or Vista must have been contemplated and dropped for the simplicity of skipping over a number and going for the big 1-0.
But does it truly warrant the jump? Based on the comments from Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president for operating systems, and Joe Belfiore, corporate VP for the Operating Systems Group (who's been heavily involved in the design of existing and forthcoming Windows Phones), it deserves the numeric jump to 10.
How "one Windows to rule them all" could work this time
Windows 10 is a single application platform for all devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. As Myerson said, "One store, one way for applications to be discovered, purchased, and updated across" all devices.
I think we've all seen that having a single OS hasn't worked so far. It would seem more logical to toss in the towel and go back to multiple OSes based on device. But Microsoft says it has a solution for this: Continuum, which allows desktops to remain desktops, tablets to remain tablets, and two-in-ones to change modes based on whether a keyboard or a touch input is used. Microsoft showed a video that indicated how a two-in-one like the Surface Pro tablet can operate as a desktop or a touchscreen tablet with or without, respectively, a keyboard.
The loudest complaints about Windows 8 were not coming from tablet users. Rather, the desktop users groused that the experience was so foreign to them and required so much training that it didn't seem worth the effort. With Windows 10, the Windows 7 Desktop experience is back, with a traditional Start button and a touch of new Metro tiled interface from Windows Phone and Windows 8.
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