Qualcomm exec says next-gen Windows coming mid-2024 – but will it be Windows 12?

Microsoft’s next-gen version of Windows, whatever that might be called, is set to pitch up in the middle of 2024.

The Register reports that Qualcomm’s CEO, Cristiano Amon, made the revelation in an earnings call for the company. On the call, Amon mentioned the next incarnation of Windows when talking about the incoming Snapdragon X Elite chip, which is going to be the engine of some of the AI-powered laptops Microsoft keeps banging on about (this is the year of AI PCs, remember?).

Amon said: “We’re tracking to the launch of products with this chipset [Snapdragon X Elite] tied with the next version of Microsoft Windows that has a lot of the Windows AI capabilities … We’re still maintaining the same date, which is driven by Windows, which is mid-2024, getting ready for back-to-school.”

So, the release date of the middle of 2024 for the laptops driven by Qualcomm’s chip is pitched there because that’s when next-gen Windows will come out.

This echoes previous chatter from the grapevine that the middle of 2024 should be the release date for the next iteration of Windows, including a specific mention of June from one source (add salt, naturally, as even if this is Microsoft’s plan right now, it may not pan out).

Analysis: Navigating the nuances

There’s a lot of nuances to all these rumors and official declarations about the launch of next-gen Windows (we’ve also heard from Intel, as well as Qualcomm). Firstly, let’s clarify: will the next desktop OS from Microsoft be Windows 12, or Windows 11 24H2?

The simple answer to this is we don’t know, but all the current evidence is stacking up to indicate that the next release will be Windows 11 24H2 – although that doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of Windows 12. On balance, Windows 12 is probably more likely to arrive in 2025 though (if that’s what it ends up being called – the point is, this will be an all-new Windows, not just an update to Windows 11).

However, there will be a different kind of all-new Windows arriving in 2024, even if we get Windows 11 24H2 this year, and not Windows 12, as seems likely. Confused? Well, don’t be: what Microsoft is ushering in – for the middle of this year – is a new platform Windows is built on. This new take on the underpinnings of the desktop OS is called Germanium and it brings a whole lot of work under the hood for better performance and security. The kind of things you won’t see, but will still benefit from.

Germanium is the platform that AI PCs will be built on, and when Qualcomm’s CEO mentions Snapdragon X Elite-powered laptops arriving in the middle of 2024 with the next version of Windows, that’s what Amon is really talking about: Germanium.

In short, this doesn’t mean we’ll get next-gen Windows 12 in mid-2024, but that if it’s the Windows 11 24H2 update – which as mentioned is most likely the case, going by the rumors flying around – it’ll still be a new Windows (the underlying platform, not the actual OS you interact with).

The other twist is that Windows 11 24H2 (or indeed Windows 12, if that slim chance pans out) won’t be coming to everyone in the middle of the year. The plan is to bring out the new Germanium-powered Windows, whatever it’s called, on new laptops (AI PCs) first – perhaps in July, going by previous buzz from the grapevine – but it’ll be a while before existing Windows 11 PCs get the upgrade. That rollout to all users is rumored to be happening in September, but whatever the case, it’ll be later in the year before everyone using Windows 11 gets the upgrade.

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Next-gen Windows is coming in 2024, Intel exec confirms (without mentioning Windows 12)

We appear to have got our clearest indication yet that a whole new version of Windows will be coming next year.

Windows Latest reports that at a recent technology conference, Intel’s chief financial officer, David Zinsner, confirmed that the next iteration of Windows is indeed due to land in 2024.

Zinsner commented: “We actually think 2024 is going to be a pretty good year for client, in particular, because of the Windows refresh.”

Clearly, then, Intel has been informed that there’s going to be a new version of Windows next year.

Although there’s no mention of the name Windows 12, or any other name for that matter – ‘Windows refresh’ is obviously not the title Microsoft will plump for when it comes to the successor to Windows 11.

Analysis: Playing the name game

Of course, there are already plenty of rumors around Microsoft bringing out a next-gen Windows in 2024. And there’s plenty of speculation that it will be called Windows 12, too, but the reality is that at this point, Microsoft may be deep into working on this next version, but probably doesn’t know what it’ll be called itself yet.

Windows 12 just seems the most likely default option, naturally. About the only other possibility that occurs to us is that Microsoft may want to jam Copilot into the name, or maybe ‘AI’ or something along those lines, given that this is the latest big thing (TM). And Copilot will certainly be considerably developed in a year’s time.

You may recall that Intel was previously the source of a leak about next-gen Windows, one that actually used the name Windows 12 when talking about support regarding upcoming processors. This info was quickly retracted when reported on, though, and we wouldn’t read anything into the use of the name, as we just mentioned.

Next-gen Windows, whether it’s Windows 12, Windows AI – or insert your own guess here – is expected to arrive later in the second half of 2024 (work theoretically began on the new OS at the start of 2022).

We’re expecting it to be built around big advances with Copilot which will doubtless be used to push it as a compelling upgrade. Microsoft will be looking for a sizeable carrot to dangle in front of would-be upgraders, especially considering that Windows 11 has failed pretty miserably to gain all that much traction in its two years of existence thus far.

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