Kicking off the Microsoft event at MWC last week, president of Windows and Windows Live, Steven Sinofsky, launched the “Consumer Preview” beta version of Windows 8, before its anticipated official full version launch this coming autumn.
With Android having scaled rapidly from smartphones to tablets, and Google Inc. looking to gain traction for its Chrome OS in netbooks, Microsoft has realized it must move fast if it is to retain its software dominance in PCs, as well as elsewhere across the compute continuum. Windows 8 is the firm's first major play at coming up with a unified operating system that can scale across all levels of devices, from computers to tablets, consoles, phones and more.
Especially exciting with this Windows launch is that for the first time, the software stack will also be available on ARM architecture, not just x86 devices. For consumers, this means that the choice becomes a software decision, pure and simple, without the extra complications of having to take the hardware into account when opting for an operating system preference.
Last week, I bought Asus ET2400 desktop with Windows7 touchscreen, 3D support. I wonder what is new in touchscreen even after such PC touchscreens, IPhone, IPad, etc. First of all, the initial look of Windows8 does not attract me. However, eager to see how the competition goes.. as a future innovator.
Rick has a point here. Vendors of each of these new devices always talk about "intuitive" UIs, but from users' standpoint, it's always yet another fresh learning and more trials and errors -- by fiddling with the UIs. It's one of the reasons why I remain skeptical about whether consumers are so eager to leave the familiar UI for yet another new UI just because the vendors say so.
I already have Android, iOS and Windows devices, plus a digital camera and MP3 player with their own UIs. Each was no doubt "intuitive" for their designers, but requires fresh learning for me. Alas!
Now Windows will have a fresh UI in part to look hip. More learning for me.
As always with new OSes, the question is what real new hardware do they enable. For Win 8 its ARM and touch screens. An important bit of catch up for Microsoft, but it doesn't really move the ball forward for the industry.
Final issues that will determine its success: How robust is the OS and how fast is the responsiveness on various x86 and ARM SoCs?
It seems to me that Win8 is going to be a "consolidated" OS for both tablet and computer. User has an option to choose between different UI - keyboard and mouse or, touchscreen. Win8, as well, consolidates the GUI of all platforms - smartphone, tablet and PC. It is a logical and smart move. Who would want to keep changing/ learning UI as they use different devices at any moment?