In October 2012, Microsoft dragged Windows into what it saw as the next era of computing with Windows 8. Not only did the new OS embrace the touch screens that have become so common these days, but it also united the Windows operating system across desktop, tablets and phones. With its next release, it looks like Microsoft is taking that idea a step further.
ZDNet reports that Microsoft EVP Terry Myerson had recently sent out an internal email that name dropped a new version of Windows called “Threshold.” The name, which comes from Microsoft’s successful Halo game franchise on Xbox, is meant to embody the next wave of Windows operating systems across all devices.
So, what does this mean for the future of Windows? It would appear that “Threshold” is the codename for a plan that will update the operating systems that powers everything from Windows desktops and tablets to Windows Phone and Xbox One. This grand plan will attempt to unify all the different versions of Windows into a more cohesive whole.
Part of this plan is reportedly already in the works as Microsoft is working to unify the Windows Store across all Windows devices. In other words, the Windows Store on Windows Phone devices will be the same store that you see on a desktop or tablet. Such a future will of course require Microsoft to make the developer tools more similar across all devices, but that’s apparently in the works as well.
What makes Threshold so interesting is that the “One Microsoft” Steve Ballmer alluded to earlier this year will be coming to Windows sooner rather than later. In other words, Microsoft software that you would normally associate with the desktop, like Office, Bing and more, would be set up to work flawlessly across all devices, including Windows Phone and maybe even Xbox One.
Microsoft is already integrating services like Bing into Windows Phone and Xbox One, but those are versions of Bing are built specifically for that platform. From the looks of it, Threshold is an attempt to build something once and have it work across all platforms. That will certainly benefit Microsoft, but it will also benefit developers as they will be able to build apps for Windows 8.1 and have it work across Windows Phone 8 and Xbox without putting in extra effort.
So, when will we see Threshold? ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley says that we can probably expect it sometime in 2015. Until then, Microsoft will work on improving what it already has in Windows 8.1.