Microsoft is poised to significantly revamp the Windows operating system in the coming months, even if it means introducing complexities for both manufacturers and users.
At Microsoft, things are often a bit intricate, as demonstrated by the challenges during the last major Windows update in September. Copilot, the “AI companion” announced with enthusiasm, was expected in this version but did not materialize.
According to Windows Central’s roadmap, more challenges may be on the horizon for users. Microsoft is reportedly gearing up for a major Windows platform update in 2024, codenamed “Germanium.” Additionally, there’s another more advanced version in the pipeline, named “Hudson Valley,” based on the “Germanium” foundation.
Windows “Germanium” is purportedly set for release in April 2024, while “Hudson Valley” is projected to be finalized by August. However, OEMs (PC manufacturers) may not be able to ship computers with “Hudson Valley” until September or October. In the interim, they could market PCs with “Germanium” as early as June, a version that won’t include the expected new features until “Hudson Valley” is released a few months later.
Manufacturers are eagerly anticipating the launch of the first machines equipped with the Snapdragon X Elite, the chip for Windows Arm PCs presented by Qualcomm last October. However, the current version of Windows 11 isn’t optimized for this chip, and they don’t want to wait for “Hudson Valley,” leading to a somewhat awkward middle ground.
There’s anticipation for new features in “Hudson Valley,” many of which are AI-driven. Notably, an AI-boosted Windows Shell with an “Advanced Copilot” is expected to work in the background to enhance search, start projects, and understand context. For instance, Microsoft may introduce a timeline allowing users to access documents without knowing their names, responding to queries like “2024 financial results.”
Another AI-fueled feature is Super Resolution, enhancing video and game quality. The update may also bring the ability to generate wallpapers with parallax effects, requiring PCs equipped with a Neural Processing Unit (NPU), specialized in processing artificial intelligence, such as the Snapdragon X Elite.
Beyond AI, Microsoft is considering adding a “creator” area in the Start menu, grouping applications for content creation. Additionally, there’s speculation about moving items from the taskbar to the top of the screen, reminiscent of macOS, though this is still in an experimental phase.
Windows 12, Yes or No?
The question arises: Will Windows “Hudson Valley” be Windows 12? Rumors suggest the next major version might be released next summer. Microsoft, however, seems hesitant, fearing further platform fragmentation. The decision is pending in the marketing department.
The departure of Panos Panay, the former head of Windows, has reshaped the division, leading to a reconsideration of the update schedule. Windows 11 might see a new “Moment” next February or March before the “Germanium” update.
Adding to the complexity is the CorePC situation, a new architecture transforming Windows into a modular system. CorePC, a parallel route, may not be offered as an update for current Windows PCs due to significant changes, resulting in CorePC PCs and Windows PCs existing separately.”
Please note that the information in the text is speculative, and actual developments may vary.