A unified Windows operating system across all devices, from Windows desktops to Xbox One. How does that sound? Well, that’s what Windows Core OS is all about.
Though Microsoft has not officially released it yet, there is a lot of expectation online about this operating system and its potential to change the world of smart devices.
What exactly is Windows Core OS?
According to a job posting on LinkedIn, Windows Core OS, or WCOS for short, is the operating system that will be shared across all new Windows devices. This posting further explains that Windows Core OS is a new operating system developed by Microsoft’s OneCore team.
Zac Bowden further explains that Windows Core OS is a modern version of the Windows operating system and is aimed at making Windows a universal platform for all devices. Bowden further believes that the first version of Windows Core OS will be for mobile devices while the subsequent versions will be for desktops and Xbox devices.
From all these above sources, we can say that Windows Core OS is a new operating system from Microsoft that will work well across all devices, regardless of other factors such as the individual hardware and configuration.
Why Windows Core OS?
Now, you might wonder why is Microsoft looking to build a new operating system? After all, the Windows operating system is stable and has been working well for a long time now. Here are a few reasons why a new OS makes sense:
Existing Windows OS is old
The Windows operating system has been around for more than 30 years, and that’s quite ancient in the world of technology. Though more features and components have been added to it to make it more relevant for today’s technology, there is no denying the fact that the operating system is old and is not meant to be as flexible as it should be for the future.
And to top it, the main support for Windows 10 ends in 2020 while the extended support ends by 2025. So, Microsoft needs something to replace it.
Rather than adding more functions to the same operating system to create better versions of the same ones, Microsoft decided to create a new OS that will be scalable and flexible enough to meet the needs of the future.
Powering future devices
A new device or app is coming to the market almost every day. Whether it is in the sphere of wearable tech or smart home appliances, a multitude of devices are emerging and all of it needs an operating system to function.
It won’t be long before smartphones become the main computing device for many individuals. When you carry a smartphone, it functions not just as a phone to communicate but also doubles up as a workstation when you put it on a docking station with the right peripherals and broadband internet access. So, to cater to such powerful smartphones, you need an OS that scales well and is compatible with many other devices.
In addition, Microsoft is looking to tap into these new markets and also to make communication among these devices a breeze. All this requires a universal platform that will be the core of any device.
The advantage with such a core OS is these next-gen devices can run faster because the OS is not encumbered by a ton of components. Also, communication across devices will tend to be fast.
An eye on Android
Besides a technology standpoint, Microsoft is also building this OS to counter the dominance of the Android operating system. Microsoft’s plan with Windows mobile did not take on Google as expected, so this may be a good way to take Android heads on.
What to expect from Windows Core OS
As a user, what are some things to expect from this new operating system? Let’s take a look:
It’s more a framework than an OS
Windows Core OS is an open-source “bare-bones” OS, similar to the Android open-source project (AOSP). This means, there will be no proprietary binary blocks or software, rather everything will be open-source.
This also means that Windows Core OS is not for end-users. It is for device manufacturers and developers, so they can build a custom Windows operating system that will be based on this Windows Core OS framework. The obvious advantage is the Windows version developed by coding specialists will be geared to meet the specifications of each device, and at the same time, will ensure compatibility with other devices that use core OS framework.
Windows Core OS is a basic framework and you can add as many modules as you want to it. For example, if you need a GUI, add it as a module or if you need support for any specific native applications, that can be added as a module as well. Such a modular approach gives tons of flexibility to developers to implement the features and functionality they want.
Support for Universal Windows platform
Universal Windows Platform, or UWP for short, allows developers to build applications for different Windows platforms such as mobile, desktop, Xbox, and more. In other words, you develop just one app that works across all Windows-powered devices without having to customize or rewrite separately for each device. Needless to say, it saves a ton of time and effort for developers.
Windows Core OS is poised to give UWP a big push, as it can be extended to future devices as well.
There is also a widespread belief among the Internet community that Windows Core OS will support Win32 apps as well.
In short, Microsoft’s Windows Core OS is the next-gen operating system that is expected to provide flexibility to add new components, drive faster development, and deliver new experiences while maintaining the familiar look and feel of a Windows operating system. Undoubtedly, it can bring a world of benefits for developers and users, especially as we move into the next decade where technology and computing are likely to see big leaps.
This definitely indicates that Windows Core OS is an operating system for the future. But will it see the light of the day, considering that Microsoft is shelving many of its much-talked-about products?
So far, Microsoft has made no official statement in this regard and we don’t have any information as to when this will be released. Also, the exit of Windows chief Terry Myerson last year put a big question on the future of this operating system.
All that said, let’s hope that this operating system is released soon, so the Windows community as a whole can jump into next gear to welcome the world of connected devices.