What do you want in the next version of Vista?

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Robert McLaws would like more information about the next version of Windows. Microsoft says not for now–at least publicly.

With Vista just recently coming out of the starting gate all this talk of the next version of Windows may make good headlines, but it’s plenty early for public discussion on Microsoft’s part.

Now as for us Windows customers–especially for those of us that have been using Vista for the last several months in beta and release form–I know there are plenty of people like me that are building their wish list for what they’d like to see in the next version of Windows. That’s fair game.

So here’s part of my list (in no particular order and which is subject to change):

What I hope Microsoft sees is what I see: Namely that mobility needs to become an even greater part of the Windows experience. What do I mean? Take power management. Vista has made improvements in power management (such as an improved design in how apps are allowed to veto the shut down sequence), however, if you want an even bigger impact on how usable a notebook is, there needs to be instant on. Students need it. Doctors need it. People on the go need it. Whether instant on is only possible from sleep or a cold boot, I don’t care too much, but it’s not there yet. It’s closer, but there’s still room for improvement.

Another area of improved mobility I’d like to see is within apps such as Media Center. What about supporting channel settings for different locations as I travel about?

I’d also like to see smarter management over network connectivity. This will become even more important as broadband radios are built into more notebooks. What happens when I’m at a conference and try to get connected? What kind of connection should I get at a coffee shop? Which one is the fastest? Which one is the safest? Which one is the easiest to connect to? Which one is the fastest to connect to?

Thirdly, I’d like to see better ad hoc collaboration provided for applications so that students can work in groups in a classroom with their notebooks or Tablets, so that my kitchen contractor can share design mockups effortlessly, and so on.

I’d also like to see the browser enhanced in the next version of Windows–after all the browser is where many people spend a majority of their time. I’d like to see the programming model and capabilities extended for developers. I’d like to see SDKs and technologies that further help to build apps which at times rival even rich client apps. I’d like to see minimized load times, better accessibility, improved caching, integrated spell and grammar checking, support for Windows browser experiences on more platforms, and more.

Along these lines I’d also like to see online services tied in with the next version of Windows–such as an online backup/archival and sharing service. Whether its to save remotely digital copies of someone’s wedding photos in case of a fire or natural disaster or to give easier access to a student’s homework (or keep it away from the chewing dog) as they move between home, school and work, it seems there’s plenty of opportunity here.

Another area ripe for improvement in the next version of Windows is the “it just works when I install it” experience. As closed or semi-closed computers such as notebooks and Tablet PCs become more standard, the collection of drivers that come with Windows becomes more important. In fact, I’d like to see Microsoft commit to supporting out of the box all the drivers in every mainstream notebook for lets say at least two years prior to the launch date of the next version of Windows. Desktops are another matter because there’s so much variability. Particularly for upgrade purchases this is a big deal. For a desktop I realize I might have a driver issue. For a notebook there’s not much I can do with it anyway as a consumer. Therefore this is what I expect: If I upgrade my copy of Windows on a Tablet PC and my Tablet PC is supported, all the built in devices should work. Period.

This is my Windows wish list so far. I expect it’ll keep growing and adjusting as I continue to use Vista over the coming months. (Oh my, I almost forgot my pitch for Windows Movie Maker to support cut shots, for instance.)