With Microsoft basically conceding the blunderous distribution and PR nightmare that is Windows Vista, apparently the decision has been made to continue with the development of the next version of Windows; not just patches and updates- a whole new version – Windows 7. They’re trying to push it out the door as soon as possible; expectations are the holiday season 2009. Based on a small [non-applied history course] Windows 7 is slated to be the successor to Vista as XP was to Windows ME, and just as ME, these users are going to be left to deal with a problematic operating system and numerous incompatibilities with hardware. There going to be left with a bastard Operating System or upgrade to Windows 7 [show me the money].
When Windows Vista was released the desktop, interface was the most advertised improvement of the operating system, but the user interface for the desktop wasn’t an excessively huge improvement to the desktop environment. Free and commercial solutions were able to offer comparable interfaces for Windows XP. The Redmond company is again focusing on the desktop environment, and rightfully so. But I don’t think this is where they’re going to be winning the big bonus points with the users or with the market.
More Internet devices are going to be hitting the market and they’re going to have instant access to web applications [e-mail, browsers, instant messengers, VOIP and more]. these devices are going to be very popular with the older crowds, with people that are on the go constantly and are mainly web-based users.
Microsoft is focusing on system boot times in the range of 30 to 40 seconds, but the Internet devices that are going to be in the local Wal-Marts, Targets and other department stores have boot times of four seconds; it’s kind’a hard to beat that. These devices can do this because the operating system and applications are already built into the hardware itself; there’s nothing to load, drivers to identify or networking to configure- it just works. Simplicity is going to be a strong point with these Internet devices and the way they’re being received in the market I believe they have a strong future.
While I identify that the industry is not going to be getting rid of software, there are plenty of examples of hardware-based systems that have operating systems built in to function without issue.
The two major obstacles that Microsoft is facing is processor and hard drive access times; you just can’t get around that with a software-based operating system. The systems have to be turned on, it has to post to recognize what it has, it has to recognize the hard drive has a boot partition and it has to load all the information to get to a point where the user can use the desktop; this is all time that’s being eaten up by the system and just preparation to interface with the user. Hardware-based offering systems don’t have this problem; it’s already there and it’s all ready to go.
In the world of technology, patience is not something that the typical computer user is used to having to expend. The days of turning on your PC and having to wait before you connect it to the desktop are becoming extinct. The PCs that the typical user is going to be looking for is going to resemble the functionality of the toaster; you press a button and it’s on – no waiting- you’re ready to go.
Instant boot times might be something that software based operating systems can take advantage of once hard drives become solid state, as a standard, and the access times on the SSD’s increase and ultimately surpass [what you consider] current technology.
If Microsoft is going to stay competitive in the market they need to be working with hardware providers [in a general platform] to try to create some sort of flash drive, flash memory or flash chip that can store the operating system [or partial OS] on the motherboards to facilitate an instant on environment. Without this- it’s just a matter of time before ASUS, DELL, HP, Phoenix and other hardware manufacturers beat Microsoft to the finish line.
If all the services and applications that you use are Internet are web-based, you don’t need an operating system; you need access to the Internet. So whether you’re using Ubuntu, Linux, OSX or Windows- webpages don’t care- they just work.
So while it’s important to realize information that shows improvement on boot times and getting to the point where the user can actually use the desktop, it’s also important to remember that this race is already lost because it’s in the wrong category and in the wrong direction. and I realize it’s only natural to try to stay or stick with your bread-and-butter; things that bring you money. But if your job is to innovate, create new standards and to enrich people’s lives with technology, the Redmond giant would do well to remember to innovate itself.