Windows Threshold, also known as Windows 9 (or at least that’s what we expect it to be called once it becomes publicly available), has been in the news quite often lately, and for good reason. It’s been long rumored that Windows Threshold will see a public preview release late this year, and now it seems that this would be as early as late September this year. Apparently, the software giant is hard at work to push the next iteration of Windows out its Threshold (pun intended).

The news comes courtesy of Mary Jo Foley via ZDNet, who’s been a reliable source on several past instances as well. According to her sources (who asked to remain anonymous), the “technology preview” of Windows Threshold might arrive late September or early October, with the retail availability expected around spring of 2015, whence the naming convention will adopt the numbering of Windows 9.

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Windows Threshold (or 9) is expected to carry a number of new features, including the return of Start Menu (in some form, at least), Modern apps floating on the desktop, offering better coherence with the desktop environment, removal of Charms bar from desktop versions of Windows, and last but perhaps most significant, the integration of Cortana virtual assistant with Windows Threshold.

As of now, there’s no word on the exact date of availability – neither for the technology preview nor public release – or the pricing of Windows 9.

It’s also noteworthy that Mary’s sources claim that, contrary to popular belief, the release will actually be public, that is, it won’t be restricted to MSDN subscribers.

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The concept of public previews isn’t new to Microsoft. The company started this trend with Windows 8, making several builds available to public for free for preview (and beta testing, naturally) to build up momentum, as well as iron out bugs in advance. That’s probably one of the reasons that Windows 8 saw good sale numbers despite having a number of complaints from the consumers. Now, with Windows Threshold, although the release cycle wasn’t that rapid (if reports are to be believed, there will be just a 6-month gap between the preview and retail versions), it can still be enough to garner good sales for Microsoft. Let’s see how that plays out in reality.

(Source: ZDNet)

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