Three years after Microsoft launched its Vista operating system, which took five years to release; it is putting Windows 7 on the market. The Windows 7 system is due out in October 2009. Before this system even hit the shelves, there was talk of the follow-on system. Internet sites devoted to handicapping the technology sector are calling the new system Windows 8, and apparently even Microsoft's Bill Gates has used this terminology. If Microsoft's accelerated rate of marketing keeps up, it is likely that the new system will be available sometime in the spring of 2011, although the company is announcing release sometime in 2012.
Little is known of the new system, but it is very likely to take the improvements of Windows 7 a step or two farther. Vista got a bad rap when it was first introduced for being slow and full of bugs. These bugs have since been worked out, and frankly, Windows 7 doesn't offer too many improvements over the debugged Vista.
In comparison to the first version of Vista, though, Windows 7 did offer a few enhancements. The task bar, for instance, was more versatile, showing not only the programs that were running, but favorites as well. The new system allows users to organize file folders in libraries for easier access to files even across multiple drives. Windows 7 also has a smarter touch pad, which recognizes for instance when the two fingers are being used and incorporates this into the manipulation of graphics files. The one area where Windows 7 has the upper hand over Vista is that there are fewer annoying pop-up prompts, and they can more easily be disabled.
Computer users who have recently purchased computers with the Vista operating system are not likely to gain much from upgrading to Windows 7 unless their purchase allows free upgrade. If this happens, the upgrade is easy, and files are retained in their original folders. XP users on the other hand, will find it much more difficult to upgrade, and files will have to be reloaded into their folders - after you've located where the Windows 7 installation program stashes them.
This round about discussion of Windows 7 should give some hints as to what to expect in the successor operating system. In all likelihood, the new system will be constructed to work effectively in cloud computing environments since that seems to be the flavor of the moment. Beyond that, Microsoft is not releasing much about it. One would assume that the enhancements of Windows 7 would be included, and possible even improved upon. The new system, for instance, should be Bluetooth enabled; and here's where Microsoft can really improve on Vista. The Vista system's Bluetooth capability is great after peripherals are activated; but, when you leave your computer idle for a while, they log themselves off and have to be reinstalled when you return to your session. When the computer goes into sleep mode, for instance, the Bluetooth wireless mouse gets booted off the system. One would sincerely hope whatever comes after Windows 7 would address this petty annoyance.
While it seems that this system will be called Windows 8, a more appropriate label might be Windows NG, for Next Generation. If the system is to be truly revolutionary, the name should reflect it. Simply calling it Windows 8 does not seem to be an effective marketing strategy, as this doesn't foreshadow that much change in the minds of buyers.