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Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming?

ZDNet has a speculative article based on tips from anonymous contacts talking about Microsoft's future plans to converge the Windows desktop, Windows mobile, and Xbox operating systems (thanks nin via Joystiq). They say the plan is to roll out an update codenamed "Threshold" in Spring 2015 that will bring the three systems closer in line. Microsoft has refused to comment on their report, calling it "rumors and speculation," but here is what they say MS has up its corporate sleeve:

From what I've heard, Threshold doesn't refer to a single Windows OS -- not even the expected, converged hybrid comprised of the Windows Phone OS and Windows RT. Instead, the codename refers to the wave of operating systems across Windows-based phones, devices and gaming consoles.

The Xbox One OS, Windows 8.x OS and Windows Phone 8 OS already share a common Windows NT core. As we've heard before, Microsoft is working to deliver a single app store across its myriad Windows platforms. Company officials also are laboring to make the developer toolset for all three of these platforms more similar.

But Threshold will add another level of commonality across Microsoft's various Windows-based platforms, sources said. With the Threshold wave, Microsoft plans to support the same core set of "high value activities" across platforms. These high-value activities include expression/documents (Office, and the coming "Remix" digital storytelling app, I'd think); decision making/task completion (Bing, I'd assume); IT management (Intune and Workplace Join, perhaps?) and "serious fun."

CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned this concept of high-value activities at back in July when he announced Microsoft's cross-company reorg to make the company more focused around its new "One Microsoft" mission.

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101 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 1.
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101. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 10, 2013, 16:15 descender
 
Yeah.. I should have refreshed before I said anything

I will only add that for such a drastic shift to the Metro style interface, it is not drastically better in any way. It may improve the touch experience (debatable), but clearly at the expense of the mouse+keyboard.
 
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100. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 10, 2013, 14:59 dj LiTh
 
descender wrote on Dec 10, 2013, 13:47:
"harder to launch a program buried under 4-5 menus on the old start button"

Looks like someone needs to learn how to use the Start-Menu. That search box is there for a reason.

Yes, for typing its the exact same. However we were discussing the mouse interaction of launching a program.
 
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99. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 10, 2013, 14:01 Bundy
 
Its right there in metro too. Easier even, just start typing.  
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98. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 10, 2013, 13:47 descender
 
"harder to launch a program buried under 4-5 menus on the old start button"

Looks like someone needs to learn how to use the Start-Menu. That search box is there for a reason.
 
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97. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 16:12 Bundy
 
Dunno man, I figured out how to do those things without any trouble.  
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96. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 16:10 FloorPie
 
Win8 is the Metro OS. If they'd called it Metro OS instead of Windows8, they could maybe get away with their arrogant, "like it or leave it" attitude. Well, I finally forked over the $500 for a mac mini to play around with OSX two months ago. Might as well go with the walled garden experts if thats the future. We'll see what happens with windows "9" etc. but I'm not enthusiastic and I'm trying to make time to learn more of various linux OS's (several of which are quite ready for prime time compared to win8).

My first experience with win8 embarrassed me because I had to figure out what went wrong with my sisters new laptop last Christmas. I foolishly also tried to make sure her AV was updated and any other potention security risks. Long story short, Metro had me have to sit down at the kitchen table with a mouse plugged in and 30 minutes later I gave up. It took me five to figure out how to get out of the metro screen, find the control panel etc.. She eventually did a system restore and got IE back to normal. For some reason it stopped using java properly. Chrome would work fine... but not IE. I couldn't even get McAfee to update properly (or figure out how to easily uninstall it). Metro was made for effing touchscreens, without it they are a PITA.

I did finally buy a cheap laptop with win8 on it to mess with the damn thing and try 8.1. I've not been real motivated though.

 
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95. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 09:31 dj LiTh
 
I agree that the inclusion of a taskbar would be a welcome addition. Metro's young, a baby. There are a lot of improvements in store for it i have no doubt. Currently though i dig 8.1 whatever floats your boat though.  
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94. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 09:18 Verno
 
dj LiTh wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 09:08:
Ok, you just lost me here. The search function is superior in 8 vs 7, let alone 8.1. So i'm not getting that arguement at all. As for file associations and networking

We're talking about how people interact with the user interface aspects of Metro and why it is not being widely adopted. I'd also disagree with a few of your conclusions there but I'm not really interested in splitting hairs about the minor iterations in other aspects of Windows 8. Metro is not just the simple thing you make it out to be, its trying to create an environment that exists parallel to the desktop and in my opinion it does a very poor job of it for users as a whole, not just tech guys like us.

I think if you want to create a serious interface for the desktop it has to involve the taskbar in some form and that was their biggest mistake. From my observation of co-workers and family people mainly just use the Start menu as a familiar jumping point for when they get lost, I don't think anyone really cares about losing the start menu itself. It's more the jarring jump between interfaces that do not share any common elements which frankly makes no sense from a design perspective and there are several areas where Metro simply does not follow common sense user interface guidelines.

This comment was edited on Dec 6, 2013, 09:25.
 
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93. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 09:08 dj LiTh
 
Verno wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 08:51:
Except for the part where you can have apps split on the side of your desktop, or use it for a full search function, or notification center for your desktop. Ya, i'm the one Cherry picking...

That doesn't really counter anything he or others have said here. Sure you can use Snap but Snap mode is a perfect example of how silly and limiting Metro is given the preset sizes and other nonsense. We've baked multitasking down to 2 apps. Searching is something we could all do before and that they arguably made worse in 8.0 through categorization of search results and only fixed in 8.1. Metro also tries to tie itself into several other parts of Windows, everything from file associations to networking. Saying that there are workarounds just misses the point.

The problem with Metro is that it isn't just a start menu replacement. I don't think anyone is that particularly fond of the start menu, it's just familiar ground with some users. The problem with Metro is that they tried to make it something akin to an environment but forgot that the rest of Windows needs to interface with it in a sensible way. Metro's full screen takeover is quite jarring for users, I've actually heard several people liken it to a virus. Traditional controls like drag and drop don't work intuitively between all applications, the UI itself is navigated in ways meant for a tablet and most importantly Metro and the Desktop feel like 2 different modes of using the same machine.

You can't really mesh unlike software interfaces and expect that people will simply adjust, people like consistency in interface design. Microsoft might have to just accept that tablets and phones are designed for different purposes than a desktop PC and design a true interface that accommodates both. In my opinion they really need to include the taskbar, its a fundamental component of Windows. Acting like we didn't just make 20+ years of progress in multitasking is ridiculous too, PCs are not phones and we don't need app suspension for everything.

For those of you with 8.1 can you launch your computer into desktop mode or do you still boot into metro and have to switch?

You can boot directly into desktop mode finally.

Ok, you just lost me here. The search function is superior in 8 vs 7, let alone 8.1. So i'm not getting that arguement at all. As for file associations and networking, the file association is as simple as it has always been to pick what you want to run what type of application or app, for instance Chrome app vs Chrome program, opening a URL. As for networking, i'm a networking guy and i've got my entire house working like clockwork between 2 win7 machines, one 2012 server, one xbmc ran on rasberry pi, and 2 win8.1's so i'm really failing to see what the problem with the networking is, as its actually gotten easier going from win7 to win8.

As for the jarring part, you've got me there, its new. Nothing much else to say about that. Although someone familar with wp8 or win rt on a tablet wouldnt have a problem. Likewise you still have the desktop unhindered with noticeable improvements to file transfering, bootup times, ssd integration, cloud support. Personally i like the power to run any app that a wp8 or winrt tablet can run and still have my desktop. As for metro, i'm a very visually oriented guy, i prefer thumbnails of webpages rather then a directory of links to read through. Its why i installed speeddial2 on chrome.
 
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92. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 08:51 Verno
 
Except for the part where you can have apps split on the side of your desktop, or use it for a full search function, or notification center for your desktop. Ya, i'm the one Cherry picking...

That doesn't really counter anything he or others have said here. Sure you can use Snap but Snap mode is a perfect example of how silly and limiting Metro is given the preset sizes and other nonsense. We've baked multitasking down to 2 apps. Searching is something we could all do before and that they arguably made worse in 8.0 through categorization of search results and only fixed in 8.1. Metro also tries to tie itself into several other parts of Windows, everything from file associations to networking. Saying that there are workarounds just misses the point.

The problem with Metro is that it isn't just a start menu replacement. I don't think anyone is that particularly fond of the start menu, it's just familiar ground with some users. The problem with Metro is that they tried to make it something akin to an environment but forgot that the rest of Windows needs to interface with it in a sensible way. Metro's full screen takeover is quite jarring for users, I've actually heard several people liken it to a virus. Traditional controls don't work intuitively between all applications, the UI itself is navigated in ways meant for a tablet and most importantly Metro and the Desktop feel like 2 different modes of using the same machine.

You can't really mesh unlike software interfaces and expect that people will simply adjust, people like consistency in interface design. Microsoft might have to just accept that tablets and phones are designed for different purposes than a desktop PC. I care more that my underlying account stuff like documents in Skydrive is shared across devices, I don't need a shared user interface for everything. In my opinion they really need to include the taskbar, its a fundamental component of Windows. Acting like we didn't just make 20+ years of progress in multitasking is ridiculous too, PCs are not phones and we don't need app suspension for everything.

For those of you with 8.1 can you launch your computer into desktop mode or do you still boot into metro and have to switch?

You can boot directly into desktop mode finally. It's sort of hidden under the (returned) start button and task bar properties.

This comment was edited on Dec 6, 2013, 09:01.
 
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91. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 08:29 SpectralMeat
 
For those of you with 8.1 can you launch your computer into desktop mode or do you still boot into metro and have to switch?  
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90. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 08:13 dj LiTh
 
dj LiTh wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 08:10:
Redmask wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 07:26:
dj LiTh wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 03:15:
I like how you just completely ignored the part about its much more time intensive and harder to launch a program buried under 4-5 menus on the old start button then it is to use the scroll wheel and click on the Icon (which you can resize).

Continue cherry picking.

No one said the start menu was better but this certainly isn't a good solution either considering that it isn't just an app launcher. I love how you completely ignored the part where I said Metro only succeeds at being an app launcher for enthusiasts. Continue cherry picking.

Except for the part where you can have apps split on the side of your desktop, or use it for a full search function, or notification center for your desktop. Ya, i'm the one Cherry picking...
 
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89. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 08:13 dj LiTh
 
Redmask wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 07:26:
dj LiTh wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 03:15:
I like how you just completely ignored the part about its much more time intensive and harder to launch a program buried under 4-5 menus on the old start button then it is to use the scroll wheel and click on the Icon (which you can resize).

Continue cherry picking.

No one said the start menu was better but this certainly isn't a good solution either considering that it isn't just an app launcher. I love how you completely ignored the part where I said Metro only succeeds at being an app launcher for enthusiasts. Continue cherry picking.

Ignore, double posts.
 
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88. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 08:10 dj LiTh
 
Redmask wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 07:26:
dj LiTh wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 03:15:
I like how you just completely ignored the part about its much more time intensive and harder to launch a program buried under 4-5 menus on the old start button then it is to use the scroll wheel and click on the Icon (which you can resize).

Continue cherry picking.

No one said the start menu was better but this certainly isn't a good solution either considering that it isn't just an app launcher. I love how you completely ignored the part where I said Metro only succeeds at being an app launcher for enthusiasts. Continue cherry picking.

Ignore, double posts.
 
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87. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 07:26 Redmask
 
dj LiTh wrote on Dec 6, 2013, 03:15:
I like how you just completely ignored the part about its much more time intensive and harder to launch a program buried under 4-5 menus on the old start button then it is to use the scroll wheel and click on the Icon (which you can resize).

Continue cherry picking.

No one said the start menu was better but this certainly isn't a good solution either considering that it isn't just an app launcher. I love how you completely ignored the part where I said Metro only succeeds at being an app launcher for enthusiasts. Continue cherry picking.
 
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86. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 03:15 dj LiTh
 
Redmask wrote on Dec 5, 2013, 19:27:
Using the mouse is fine because you don't have to use the mouse and keyboard shortcuts exist? Seems like a pretty backwards discussion here. Hot corners are stupid, waving the mouse in the upper right to get the bar is really poor design for the input methods here. I thought we moved past horizontal mouse scrolling in apps too but metro is like going back to early web design. Basic functionality windows users have relied on for years like dragging and dropping between apps, minimizing tasks and so on are all hampered by poor discoverability and bad design.

No one is saying enthusiasts can't adapt to it. They're saying its shitty design.

I like how you just completely ignored the part about its much more time intensive and harder to launch a program buried under 4-5 menus on the old start button then it is to use the scroll wheel and click on the Icon (which you can resize).

Continue cherry picking.
 
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85. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 6, 2013, 00:19 Bundy
 
Simon Says wrote on Dec 5, 2013, 23:59:
Metro doesn't have it's place at all on a desktop... And introducing it slowly would be like easing car drivers slowly into switching from a wheel and pedals into a dual analog controller to steer the car.

It's just the wrong interface for the job.

Dual analog on a console with platformers = good.

Dual analog on a car, airplane or bicycle = dumbass.

And you don't fix what ain't broke unless you can radically improve and revolutionize.

They're just trying to squeeze more milk from the cow and right now the shot themselves in the foot. Being committed, they can't backed without looking like fools and taking the pride hit. So instead of doing the logical and best thing, they'll move forward like a squad of US soldiers caught in a vietnamese minefield. -_-

lol I like that analogy. Who knows, maybe they'll shock is all and do a 180 like the XBone after e3. Just rip it all out.
 
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84. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 5, 2013, 23:59 Simon Says
 
Metro doesn't have it's place at all on a desktop... And introducing it slowly would be like easing car drivers slowly into switching from a wheel and pedals into a dual analog controller to steer the car.

It's just the wrong interface for the job.

Dual analog on a console with platformers = good.

Dual analog on a car, airplane or bicycle = dumbass.

And you don't fix what ain't broke unless you can radically improve and revolutionize.

They're just trying to squeeze more milk from the cow and right now the shot themselves in the foot. Being committed, they can't backed without looking like fools and taking the pride hit. So instead of doing the logical and best thing, they'll move forward like a squad of US soldiers caught in a vietnamese minefield. -_-
 
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83. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 5, 2013, 21:48 SpectralMeat
 
Bundy wrote on Dec 5, 2013, 20:42:
And it will be a compromise, I can almost guarantee. I know a lot of folks want metro completely stripped out but its not going to happen. It will be tweaked, it will be tinkered, but its probably here to stay.

That is exactly how it should have been the first place, slowly introduce and inject Metro as opposed to the drastic "Metro or gtfo" approach they've done when 8.0 was released.
It did more harm then good because it scared away people instead of introduce them a new interface and teach them why this new interface is better then what they've been using for the past 15 or so years.
Show the benefits etc.
Nope nothing like that.
I think only in 8.1 they started to use those arrows pointing at the corner of the screen to give some hints to people what to even look for to get to settings and stuff.
I am sure Metro is here to stay but it needs a lot of tweaking and by Windows 9 I think it will be a little more user friendly then it is now, and people will be much more likely to adopt.
Windows 8 however I think will remain the 2013 version of Vista
 
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82. Re: Windows/Xbox Convergence Coming? Dec 5, 2013, 21:40 Simon Says
 
Steele Johnson wrote on Dec 5, 2013, 01:28:
It amazes me to see all the bashing when this is something that people have wanted for years. To be able to sync and share across all ms devices is exactly what will make their products way more useful for business and consumer. I'm surprised most of you don't see it. Or maybe you do and just bash because it's cool? Seriously, if this is true, they'll pull waaaaay ahead of the competition and set a new standard that will be expected with other products.

Yes we wanted that. What you don't get is, we didn't want any of that Metro crap coming along with it. The UI as nothing, I repeat NOTHING to do with compatibility and interoperability.

Leave phone UIs for phones, tablet UIs for tablets and desktop UIs for desktops.

One UI for everything is as dumb as you can get. And even more so when that UI is a fucking walled garden abomination that will give phoneitis/tabletitis to the desktop. I have enough already to deal with plaguing consolitis and widespread dumbing down of crap to accomodate the lowest common denominator.

ENOUGH IS FUCKING ENOUGH!
 
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