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Windows 8: New Year, New Version?

Future Windows Come in Shades of Blue?

Future Windows Come in Shades of Blue?

One of my favorite Windows pundits is Woody Leonhard (a bona fide Windows and Office guru). He definitely grabbed my attention, and started me thinking hard this morning, with his piece for the InfoWorld Tech Watch entitled “Is a new version of Windows 8 coming … every year?” He quotes Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet) and Tom Warren (The Verge) as circulating strong rumors to the effect that “yearly upgrades will be the norm for Windows soon.” The most profound basis for the upcoming Windows 8 versions currently code-named “Blue,” is to consolidate SDKs and APIs for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Windows RT under a single umbrella. Woody quotes Tom Warren on this subject as follows:

Once Windows Blue is released, the Windows SDK will be updated to support the new release and Microsoft will stop accepting apps that are built specifically for Windows 8, pushing developers to create apps for Blue. Windows 8 apps will continue to run on Blue despite the planned SDK changes.

His re-interpretation of Warren’s remarks is consonant with my own — namely, that this updated version of the Windows SDK for Blue will cover all the bases, with requiring separate stuff (or compilations) for the various Winodws sub-platforms for ARM-based tablets, x86 platforms, or Windows Phone devices. Woody also remarks that “Once Blue is released, all new Windows Store aps will be required to work on all three platforms. At least, I think that’s what he’s saying.” FWIW, so do I, not just because of the admittedly opaque and obtuse language from Warren himself, but also because that’s what makes sense for users and developers alike (not to mention Microsoft, too, what with having to maintain only  a single SDK and development environments once that convergence is completed).

Can this really happen in a year? It’s an ambitious goal, and there’s a lot of work for Microsoft to do to make things ready, after which there’ll be even more work for developers to do to catch up with the lastest state of the SDK and the tools that support it. Jury’s still out on the timing, but the idea is solid. I certainly hope MS can deliver on this goal, even if it takes a little longer than is currently forecast.

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