With Windows 7 being a smash hit with consumers around the world, all eyes are on what new and different can the next version of Windows offer for the consumers. Any claims at this points are purely speculations and guesses though Microsoft is talking to its partners about some of the things that the consumers can expect. The excitement is building and some of the things that may see the light (and I say might because by the time we get to a significant release a lot can change) are mentioned below:
- One of features that might see the light is Fast Startup which is a combination of Logoff and Hibernate and which basically allows Windows to shutdown faster.
- Quick re-installation of the Windows operating system is something that might be part if Windows 8 with a feature to allow installation of the software without you having to back up your personal files or data.
- The identity management program in Windows might see the addition of facial recognition as one of the features for logging into the computer (right now finger print sensor is supported)
- A Windows app store is a strong contender, with a huge repository of apps building up in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
However the one feature that is actually getting most folks excited is the possibility that in Windows 8 the operating system may be offered in a virtualized environment thereby offering Desktop as a Service (DaaS). Well this is just speculation by industry folks and these are not confirmed by Microsoft executives but if this really becomes a reality then it really will usher a new era in the operating system technology. With the cloud technology right now only applications and data are managed off the cloud, but imagine your entire desktop being offered that way. All you’ll need is compatible hardware and hardware crash will not disrupt your operating system settings or will not result in loss of personal data (and no more reinstallation of the operating system).
Though this sounds exciting from a user perspective it will be interesting to see how it turns out from an organization (who wants to implement this technology) perspective. Will they need to have local data centers or will Microsoft host all of the virtual desktop/OS on their own data centers like it currently hosts the applications and data.
None of these questions will be answered in the near future. Windows 8 will most likely be out in 2012 with any kind of release or product preview happening in 2011 and we might just see many of the feature talked about here not being part of the feature list. But surely the virtual operating system looks like a prime candidate for the next logical evolution of the OS technology. What shape that virtual OS technology takes is merely a speculation right now with some industry reports saying that it might be a physical deployment via boot from vhd and/or virtual deployment to Hyper-V or equivalent hypervisor technology.
Anyway for the end user we hope it will be as simple as going to a portal and accessing the apps.