Microsoft reportedly working on a unified UI

The project sounds similar to one from Google, and has the same codename.

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As if Microsoft didn't have enough irons in the fire concerning Windows 10, now come rumors of a new desktop experience for Windows 10 devices codenamed “Andromeda.” This all sounds very similar to a Google project to do the same thing and by the same name.

The news comes once again from the new favorite source of Microsoft leaks, Twitter user WalkingCat, who said "So Google's rumored Andromeda is a hybrid OS designed for hybrid devices, and MS Andromeda is the same thing, hard to believe its [sic] coincident."

Microsoft calls Windows 10 a truly universal OS because it is used across all of its devices, but the shells are different between the desktop, mobile devices, HoloLens, Xbox and IoT. But with Andromeda, Microsoft is apparently bringing a new desktop experience to Windows 10 that will reflect the changes to its Continuum interface for phones in Windows 10, such as a full-featured task bar, toast notifications and an updated Action Center. Microsoft previewed these features at the Ignite 2016 show in September.

This is not unlike Andromeda, a more well-detailed Google project. Andromeda is rumored to be a merging of its Android and ChromeOS operating systems. Android has worked well on smartphones and tablets while ChromeOS has been a success on Chromebooks.

Andromeda from Google would be a merging of ChromeOS into Android, giving the mobile platform the cloud-centric ChromeOS platform, an adaptable interface and touch gesture support, so it will have one combined operating system for mobile devices and laptops. This could finally get Android on the desktop, something Google has not been able to do, and likely spell the end of ChromeOS as a separate entity.

So it seems Microsoft (and Google) is slowly making its operating system completely adaptive across all devices; smartphone, console, tablet, IoT and PC. We've already seen reports of the Composable Shell (CShell), an adaptive shell in Windows 10 which will allow the OS to adapt to the device it’s currently running on. Now it's reportedly working on a UI that does the same thing.

The question now is the timeline for disclosure. The Build 2017 conference in Seattle is in May, which would be the ideal time for Microsoft to show off CShell and Andromeda. By that time, Redstone 2, aka the Creator's Update, of Windows 10 will be out and the company will be moving on to the next major milestone, “Redstone 3.” That is expected for a late fall release.

So I'll repeat what I said earlier about CShell: it looks like Microsoft is poised to succeed where Apple failed in making one unified operating system across every device.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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