Windows is found on around 80% of computers on the market. Its simple interface and huge range of hardware support coupled with a variety of price ranges has made it a popular choice. Windows 7 was launched three years ago and we’re now impatiently awaiting Windows 8. We’ve got a street date of October 26th alongside promises of the future.
With this new release, Microsoft has taken into account new technologies that are emerging onto the market. The new design is a blend of a modern touch pad with the traditional keyboard style baked in. This is a clear evolution, a complete redesign that is very touch friendly. Microsoft has been trying to crack the mobile market for quite sometime and this represents their latest move to get a piece of this very lucrative pie.
The new look has been greeted with mixed review, it’s clearly a good looking interface, but the reaction has been pretty divided. As we mentioned before touch has been taken very seriously and it does work well on tablets, but what about on the PC? You can always jump back to the traditional desktop, but the new design has a totally new way to navigate. Now imagine you’re aunt or uncle who had to study for weeks to surf the internet and who won’t leave Windows XP because they can’t handle change? Just under 90% of the PC world runs Windows and a few of those people’s minds will likely explode when faced with the metro UI.
Of course Microsoft believes that Windows 8 will work just as well with a keyboard and mouse as it does with just your finger. But it’s a risky move, image using an iPad with a mouse, it’s just not the same.
Metro is designed to deliver a lot of information at a single glance and it does this through the use of live tiles. The point is simple, they want your home screen to deliver you reams of information in a highly customized way. Metro’s Live Tiles are funky looking interfaces that works on tablets and even on handsets, the question is how will this attitude migrate over to PC? It has a more then fighting chance of being successful, people have already been trained by widgets on their phones to get real time updates. Your PC is connected to the internet, why shouldn’t it keep you up to date with out having to search?
Software is always the big question and Windows 8 has it in spades, there are a whole whack of gesturing tools and multitasking is on a whole new level. All you have to do to check out what apps are already running, is flick your finger (or mouse) from the side and you’ll be able to scroll through everything that’s open. If you want to see more then one thing at a time, just pull the window out part way and it will snap to the side, you can even mix and match desktop programs and apps, like twitter and a spreadsheet.
The app store is moving in as well with Marketplace. Office 365 and Xbox live are integrated which will give you access to movies, music and games. The cloud is taking its well deserved place, we’re still waiting to see exactly how Skydrive will be updated in this massive launch.
The one thing that is clear is that Windows 8 will bring a lot of change, but like most Microsoft releases, we’ll likely have to wait for an update or two until it really works well. Then again remember Windows Millennium…let’s cross our fingers this is more compatible!