Microsoft is slowly walking away from the touchscreen future of Windows, today announcing an update that backtracks on their initial vision of the new OS.
In a significant update for Windows 8.1, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore today announced at Mobile World Congress that “some of those touch affordances weren’t really tuned as well as we could do for those mouse and keyboard users.” The update will introduce a title bar at the top of modern apps, as well as power and search buttons on the Windows 8 Start screen. Most significantly, leaks have revealed that the OS will also boot to the desktop by default now. The update will also introduce the ability to launch apps from the Taskbar, just like you would with a classic Windows application, as well as new mouse controls for right-clicking and closing apps. In a nod to Chrome OS devices, the update will also lower minimum requirements of the OS to 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. A recent report also showed this hope to compete with Chromebooks as Microsoft had cut licence fees by 70 percent for products retailing under $250.
Internally known as Update 1, the new update doesn’t have a solid release date, but will be released to developers at BUILD in April.
Overall it’s an admission that Windows 8 wasn’t working well on a mouse and keyboard, but it’s also just an admission that they don’t want to fix the problems, instead choosing to hide them. Instead of improving these UI discrepancies they’re just going to strip them out of the OS for desktop users. Microsoft are in the process of destroying the original vision of Windows 8, while simultaneously destroying the legacy of Windows 7.