The most probable final names for Windows 8 (that will never be)

16 בספטמבר 2011

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It has been suggested recently by tech bloggers that the product currently codenamed "Windows 8", may not end up being called "Windows 8" at all. Here are some of the more commonly proposed names, that will probably never happen:

Windows 8

Why it's the most probable:

So which is it?Do we need to say it? Windows 7 was codenamed "Windows 7" right from the get-go, and ended up being called that because it just made sense (though many would argue that it only made sense if you counted it a certain way. The Kernel itself is not even numbered '7' but rather '6.1'). Calling the following version "Windows 8" would make sense not just because it will FINALLY introduce some continuity to the Windows naming scheme (Windows 95 and Windows 98 are probably the only two consecutively named versions – not counting the Widows Server family). Also, marketing-wise, ask anyone who knows anything about marketing and they'll tell you that if you have a number in the name, the bigger the number the better the  consumers think the product is (post in Hebrew). For example, when you go buy a computer, you'll obviously assume (correctly) that an i5 processor is better than an i3 processor, and you'll assume an NV550 is better than an NV520, without even knowing what those are. So obviously, if people are satisfied with Windows 7 and Windows 8 comes out, people will automatically – even subconsciously, think "8 > 7 therefor Windows 8 > Windows 7". It's also the reason so many people nickname the next generation of the Xbox360 'Xbox 720', even though that will obviously never happen. It just makes sense – people think in numbers, and numbers are easy to compare, catalog and – well, quantify.

Why it might actually be a bad idea:

I work as a computer salesman, and the number of times people have asked me if a computer came with "Windows 2007" is ridicules. Numbers can get confusing, especially if you haven't been using them consistently in the past: Is it Office 2010 on Windows 8? Office 10 on Windows 2012? Office Vista on Windows 2010? I've heard it all. Names are harder to confuse (at least in your native language), and generally easier to subconsciously associate to a desired feelings or concept. Windows ME wanted us to both welcome the new millennium and feel like the computer was an extensions of us (which it was every time we bumped our head on the keyboard out of frustration), Windows XP wanted us to XPerience our PCs, Vista wanted us to feel as if the entire world was on our desktop, and I'm guessing similar logic was applied to names such Sony's "XPeria" and "Vita" and even the "Nintendo Wii" – and don't even get me started with HTC products! On the other hand, the effect can backfire: I'm betting no company in the world will ever name another product 'Vista', which in many circles is now a synonym to failure and poor quality.


Why it could work:

What most people think of when you say "Windows Infinite"Someone on the web, I forget where, suggested this as a possible name  for the new version. It has the '8' hidden nicely right there on its side, and the infinity symbol is something with very strong and powerful symbolism. It's actually not a bad idea, when you think about it. All the positive effects of a numbering scheme (taken to an extreme, for sure), with all the effects of an actual name. "Windows Infinity" enjoys the best of both worlds, with the only possible side-effect being the never ending jokes about how infinitely bad it is or how it's actually a reflection of Bill Gates' bank account balance.

Why it will probably never happen:

If Microsoft have been consistent with one thing in their naming scheme, apart from the consistency of being inconsistent, it's in naming products in the weirdest fashion possible. "Kinect" probably shining right there at the top alongside "Azure", "Bing" (which will forever make me think of Chandler), and "Zune" (Nobody's quite sure how to pronounce it, and either way it sounds REALLY bad in Hebrew, it's basically a profanity). Choosing a name that's creative, stylish AND makes sense is a very unlikely move for Microsoft. Windows ∞ will simply never happen because it's probably the best choice of all (if you don't want to 'settle' with "Windows 8").


Windows 360

Do a 360, moonwalk away!Why it might happen:

There's this big and probably true idea on the web that Microsoft is unifying everything. With the introduction of Metro to the Xbox360 later this year, and reports of "Windows 8" possibly being able to run Xbox360 games, it's commonly assumed that Microsoft are preparing for the inevitable post-pc era by unifying everything under one big roof. While the 360 might not be the most synonymous name with "Microsoft", it does give that subconscious association we've been talking about – that it covers everything. Symantec used it with Norton 360, which is supposed to be a 'full and whole' package, and visually the number '360' makes most people think of a circle, which is a pretty perfect form in many aspects and makes people feel safe and strong. Don't be surprised if alongside the revelation of Windows 8 as "Windows 360", the Windows Phone name will also be changed to "Windows phone 360", as just another step towards Microsoft's big theorem of grand technological unification. If there's one thing the Windows 8 Developer Preview has shown us, it's that Microsoft sure are preparing for a Post-PC era, whether they like to admit it or not.

Why it will probably never happen:

360 is old news. It's been used, specifically by Microsoft, and it's turning into a cliché. So much so that whenever you see a '360' at the end of anything, you think to yourself "Who's the pretentious douche who decided to name their product with a '360'", and as the joke goes, you then do a 360° turn and moonwalk away.


Windows Tiles

What I'm dreading:

Windows AND TilesI'm actually dreading this one. Have you TRIED the Windows 8 Developer Preview?! The default interface method Microsoft would have you use HAS NO WINDOWS. Programs either run full screen or appear as 'widgety' tiles. No Windows, no maximize or minimize bar, no taskbar – not even an X to close a program! What I'm REALLY dreading is that they ditch the entire "Windows" family name and change it to "Tiles" or something similarly dreadful. It's not like they haven't been pushing this down our throats since forever; remember back in the Longhorn Beta how they talked about tiles on the sidebar? Somebody over there must be obsessed! They must have a nice kitchen floor, though.

Why it'll probably never happen:

It's a bland and confusing name. 'Tiles' are objects, elements – not something you associate with a wholesome product like an operating system. Besides, "Windows Tiles" is actually an oxymoron! There are no Windows, only tiles! And they'll never just call it "Tiles". Not until Windows 9, at least, as it's been rumored that Windows 8 will be the last of the Windows family operating systems. I was going to make "Windows Final" a segment of it's own, but I think that's pretty redundant.


Windows Metro

Why this one makes so much sense:

How it all came to beDo I even need to say it? We're getting the Metro Interface in everything Microsoft! Xbox360 is going Metro, The Zune and Windows Phone have gone Metro and actually made the 'UI Language' as Microsoft define it pretty popular and successful, as opposed to the products themselves which is a little ironic. Why not "Windows Metro"? It's supposed to be the culmination of all previously nearly-experimental Metro products, the best current evolution of the idea in the full glory of a PC or a tablet. Also, the word 'Metro' has a lot of symbolism to it – it's something fast, up-to-beat, always in motion, alive and dynamic. It's the fast paced world we live in, and it's ever-changing. It also has a very nice ring to it.


Why it might not happen:

The only reason I can think why you might not want to call the new version "Windows Metro" is that you'd rather go with "Windows 8". Also, the sure to follow "Windows Metrosexual" jokes. I won't even try to make those up, I'll leave that for the Macintosh crowd. Seriously though, 'Metro' is a name already used for Microsoft's design concepts, and I doubt they'll name the product after it. After all, they didn't call Longhorn "Windows Aero". Besides, the name 'Metro' wasn't thought of because of all its positive associations, it was just called that way because they ripped the font and concept off the Seattle Metro station signs and so that's how they called it. Come to think of it, I think there's a lawsuit hiding somewhere in there….

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