Sunday, August 19, 2012

Windows 8 RTM

I need to open this with making sure that you know that I haven't touched the Windows 8 RTM bits. And that my experience with Windows 8 was with the Consumer Preview in a virtual machine.

However I have been following others' experience with the gold bits for Windows 8. Most of the reviews take one side of the other. However a couple of recent articles seem to take the middle road.

First I came across an article in Computerworld.

The author contrasts the Metro Modern UI with iPad and Android.
Designed from the ground up to display information, it provides a significantly different experience from using an iPad or Android tablet -- information-centric rather than app-centric.
I think that this is a positive real differentiation for the Modern UI on all platforms.

The article goes on to talk about the Modern UI apps.
But others, such as Mail, remain underpowered compared to traditional desktop apps like Outlook.
I don't think that this is an issue as the Windows Live Mail app for Windows 7 is also "underpowered" when compared to Outlook. Power users are going to want to add their preferred app. Microsoft really needs to get the Modern UI apps out there before buyers start taking their new Windows 8 PCs/tablets home.

As the article describes the table experience the author says:
Windows 8 falls short on tablets only when you want to get to the Desktop, but considering that tablets are generally used to consume content rather than create content, you likely won't need to go there.
I'm not sure that I agree with the assumption that "tablets are generally used to consume content rather than create content." I see imaging apps like Pic Stitch and presentation apps like Haiku Deck emerging as solid content creation tools leveraging the capabilities of a tablet to facilitate creation of dramatic content. I think that as tablets mature the idea that they are only consumption devices will quickly disappear.

This goes back to the aforementioned concern over "underpowered" Modern UI apps. Again, Microsoft's challenge is to hit home runs with Modern UI apps, not just pretty faces on Desktop UI apps. Obviously pretty faces on Desktop UI apps won't work at all on Windows RT tablets.

The second article I came across was from Lockergnome.

Even Paul Thurrot expressed hope that Microsoft would have some kind of tutorial on the Modern UI for new users. It seems that this is in the RTM bits.
...during installation, there’s now an animation explaining the presence of hot corners in Windows 8. It’s a very clear and straightforward visual, but still many people will wonder what it means.
Here's the video:

The author had a good experience installing Windows 8 on a three year-old laptop. I'm not sure that that is germane as most people will buy Windows 8 pre-installed. These articles focused almost exclusively on the Windows 8 presentation perspective.

But there's lots more to Windows 8 than just the presentation changes. Some of the underlying changes are real leaps forward ahead of the competition. For example, according to Paul Thurott Windows 8 "will automatically sync virtually all possible settings for you." Let that soak in for a minute. Google Chrome browser users will appreciate this since Chrome does that across browser instances. But Chrome is limited to just browser settings. Think about this capability for all PC/tablet settings. Apple's iCloud doesn't even come close to this.

SkyDrive is all new and is deeply integrated. This may be the first really viable cloud operating system. (Sorry Chrome OS.)

It's going to be an interesting Fall!

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