Surface 2 buyers and other Windows RT tablet owners may be left out of the fun when Microsoft reveals Windows Threshold (a.k.a. Windows 9) at the end of September, as the tipped release is said to be for PCs and tablets built around traditional x86 processors alone, according to a recent report. But when the next generation of Windows does make its way to ARM processor-powered devices, it could provide a startling—and welcome—glimpse at a post-desktop future for Microsoft's "Universal Windows" concept.
While the x86 version of Windows 9 is reported to dial back Windows 8's sweeping changes, introducing PC-friendly tweaks like the return of the Start menu and the death of the Charms bar, the ARM-based version will abandon the desktop entirely, according to separate reports from Winbeta, The Verge's Tom Warren, and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley.
If true, the move makes sense, as Windows devices with ARM processors are limited to touchscreen-capable tablets and phones, not proper PCs. Microsoft began duplicating desktop functionality in the Metro interface en masse with the Windows 8.1 update released in October 2013.