Microsoft’s “Threshold” may bolster (and tie) platforms

As DeveloperTech reported last week, Microsoft is working to merge their myriad of platforms into one, or possibly two (for Intel and ARM-based iterations) OS’s – but first, according to a new report, they’ll be bolstering their platforms with common features.

Currently, Microsoft’s latest Operating Systems consists of; Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows RT, and the Xbox OS.

The next release, due well after the rumoured Q1 2014 Windows 8 and WP8 updates, will – extracted from Mary Jo Foley’s report on ZDNet – “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); decision making/task completion (Bing); IT management (Intune and Workplace Join) and ‘serious fun.’”

Mary’s suggestions sound the obvious choices; leaving us to speculate on what Microsoft considers “serious fun”…

The hopeful side of me thinks, close to knows, it’s some-part in reference to the ‘Cortana’ virtual assistant Microsoft is near-confirmed to have been working on… going beyond a scripted assistant found on rival platforms such as Android and iOS (but notably absent for the most part in Windows Phone…) to one with deeper conversational intelligence and emotion.

Both Threshold and Cortana are Halo-references from the hit Xbox video game title. Threshold being a planet in the original Halo… whilst Cortana is, well, a virtual assistant and companion to the key protagonist – Master Chief.

Despite the departure of CEO Steve Ballmer; the next version is said to be on-track. The first and upcoming priority for Microsoft, however, will be the first major updates in the first half of 2013 to their desktop and mobile platforms…

It appears the updates will bring the OS’s – which share the same ‘NT’ core – in line with each other (at least in terms of version numbers.) Windows 8.1 will remain as 8.1 and simply receive an “Update 1” … whilst Windows Phone 8 will get the “Blue” update bumping it to Windows Phone 8.1.

The one platform we shouldn’t see any update so soon for is the Xbox OS, which has only just released. That being said, a list of fairly significant complaints about missing features in the Xbox One posted on the aptly-named Xbox Feedback website has been passed on by Xbox Live’s director of programming to “the relevant team” who promises “things will get better”… perhaps at least a couple of complaints will be addressed around the same time?

How do you think Microsoft will handle the 2014 updates to their platforms?

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