Top 10 issues Microsoft must address with Windows 9

It may seem like Windows 8.1 was only released a short while ago, but Microsoft has apparently set itself the goal of delivering Windows 9 by April 2015, if the rumours and leaks coming out of Redmond can be believed.

With PC sales still declining and many vendors pointing the finger at Windows 8 and 8.1 for putting buyers off, Microsoft has its work cut out to correct the perceived shortcomings in its platform and make Windows 9 as compelling as previous versions such as Windows XP and Windows 7.

With this in mind, we've put together a list of things we think Windows 9 should have in order to stem the tide of buyers opting for an iPad or a Chromebook instead.

10. Better notifications for desktop apps
Windows 8 live tileWindows' notification system has been inconsistent, and can be a large annoyance at times. Icons on the taskbar repeatedly flash orange, balloons pop up from the system tray on the
bottom-right of the screen and fade away slowly. With Windows 8, noisy, coloured rectangles appear at the top-right of the screen whenever a "Modern UI" app has something to say.

While it's good to see that the Modern UI has a notification API in place, we would dearly love to see the same thing happen for more traditional desktop-based apps. Smartphone operating systems – including Windows Phone 8, Android and iOS – are well ahead of the game with dedicated notification areas where messages stack up and are easy to look through. We'd love to see something like this for Windows 9.

9. Gesture controls

Microsoft can claim to be one of the pioneers in bringing gesture control technology to the masses thanks to the huge success of its Kinect gaming platform.
Microsoft Xbox One console and kinect
Apple has since bought PrimeSense, the company that helped kickstart the use of this technology, and Microsoft has brought its development of motion control kit in-house. It could really steal a march on the market if it could include such capabilities in Windows 9 as standard.

Theoretically, Windows 8 can already support gesture control, although no-one has yet implemented this within any devices. The use of such controls is also a little beyond the needs of most people at present.

However, if Microsoft wants to re-establish its position as the king of the operating system, then a fully fledged, easy-to-use motion control desktop platform would be the way to do it.

8. Bring back Gadgets
Get new gadgets step 3Gadgets made their debut in the much-maligned Windows Vista. A dedicated area that could be placed to the right or left of a user's desktop, the Gadgets pane allowed geekier types to download and install useful tools such as CPU performance and network speed monitoring. Little calendar and clock widgets, as well as shortcuts to Windows functions were also available, and highly useful for many power users.

In 2012 Microsoft warned all users that they should uninstall all of their Gadgets because they were not secure, which wasn't a great PR move for the firm or the Gadgets. But they were the first foray into what are now the Modern UI's Live Tiles, which display live information such as news and weather. Incorporating these back into the desktop would be a welcome addition, combining the flexibility of the desktop with the simplicity of the Modern interface.

 7. Better scaling on large displays
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Start menuJust one of the many criticisms levelled at Windows 8 and 8.1 is the way that the display scales on different devices with differing resolutions and screen sizes. The general consensus seems to be that Windows does not handle this well.

Because the Metro-style user interface borrows heavily from Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, it seems appropriate and looks fine on smaller devices such as the new crop of 8in tablets, but on large-screen devices, the massive tiles can look ridiculous.

Hopefully, Microsoft will resolve this in Windows 9, or at least offer users greater manual control over how the display scales on each device they own.

 6. Longer battery life
Windows battery life indicatorOne of the reasons Microsoft gave for introducing its Metro-style environment in Windows 8 was to deliver new APIs that enabled tighter control over power consumption, in order to extend the battery life of devices such as tablets.

However, Microsoft has only really succeeded at delivering all-day battery life on ARM-based devices running the much-reviled Windows RT version of the platform. On systems with an x86 processor, battery life stubbornly remains below eight hours unless you have an outsize battery.

Despite the effort Microsoft has put into power management, we feel there is room for improvement here. Whether the software giant can deliver it by early next year remains to be seen.

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

I really like to read reviews and see what's new about technology, on D-BLOG I share with you articles/reviews that I find interesting. I also write some reviews in romanian...

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