Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s upcoming Windows 9 operating system, codenamed Threshold, is speculated to be announced in April 2015. The software giant is still trying to clean up the mess it caused with Windows 8. Microsoft announced Wednesday at its Build developer conference in San Francisco that it will finally bring back what millions of customers have asked for: the Start menu. Officials confirmed that the Start menu and windows Modern apps will arrive in another update to Windows 8.1, possibly later this year.

windows 9

However, consumers and the rumor mill are curiously looking forward to a replacement to Windows 8 rather than an update. Though Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) hasn’t revealed any concrete information about Windows 9, leaked rumors provide a sneak peak into the direction the Redmond-based company is headed with Windows 9.

Windows 9 with cross-platform app compatibility

Windows 9 is rumored to offer a seamless user experience across all types of devices: desktops, tablets, smartphones, and the Xbox One. App compatibility across Windows platforms would be the highlight of the upcoming operating system. That means developers will have to create a single app that will work well on tablets, smartphones, Xbox One, and PCs.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) hinted at this kind of platform during its last year’s Build conference. The company said at the time that developers will be able to use the same tools to create Windows apps as well as Xbox One apps. The company may expand this idea to smartphones and tablets. That will be a big challenge for Microsoft. Particulars of the development tools and user interface will make or break the OS.

Microsoft may introduce gesture recognition with Windows 9

Gesture recognition would help Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) enable support across multiple devices. With Kinect, the Redmond-based company has extensive expertise in this area. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has already been pushing for built-in gesture support. Kinect may have the necessary processing power and resolution to offer better user experience. But it’s quite expensive.

And of course…a brand new Start menu

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is highly likely to go back to the Start menu to please the keyboard-and-mouse users. The company brought back the Start button with Windows 8.1. But that’s simply a Metro launch screen. With Windows 9, the company may introduce a redesigned Start menu. Rumors suggest that it won’t be just an expansion of the App View or the old Start menu. It will provide quick access to recent apps. The new Start menu would rely on Windows search.