Peeking at Windows 8

Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available for download. In the age of the iPad, Microsoft’s foray into tablets, unveiled today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is an important step not only for the software giant but for Silicon Valley companies such as PC maker Hewlett-Packard, says the Associated Press. The new operating system, which allows for desktop and tablet functionality, also will run on devices using ARM, which changes Microsoft’s relationship with another valley giant, Intel. We’ve scoured some early impressions:

Windows 8 includes the tablet interface called Metro plus a traditional desktop interface. Microsoft Windows President Steve Sinofsky reportedly said the experience is meant to be “harmonious and seamless,” especially for those who want to switch between the two. But “looking at Windows 8 as a whole, we find the desktop implementation to be incongruent. Its style doesn’t meld with Metro at all,” writes Christina Bonnington for Wired. CNet’s Seth Rosenblatt says, though, that “it gracefully moves from touch to keyboard and mouse.”

Some are praising Windows 8 for its simplicity and focus on the consumer. “Instead of continually getting in the way with pop-up nag screens (“You really should restart now”), Internet Explorer first-run pages, multi-step installers, and cluttered interfaces, Windows 8 gets out of the way,” according to ExtremeTech. The Verge‘s hands-on preview mentions “the simplification throughout [Microsoft’s] app strategy.” (Windows apps are free, by the way, for now.)

The CNet review, while mostly positive (“It could be the next big thing” for Microsoft) raises some important questions, including whether consumers will want “tablets that aren’t made by Apple.” The iPad leads the market, and the anticipation for the next version, which is expected to be unveiled next week, is building. CNet wonders whether there is a market for what Windows 8 if the first to aim to do, which is to give people the cool tablet experience with the power of the desktop when they need it.

 

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  • RedRat

    As is usual with Microsoft, it will be Windows 9 that will be the good version. Typically, MS botches every other version, e.g., Vista was a dog compared to Win7, this whole play goes way, way back to the old Windows 95-98-SE days. So we shall see. So far it looks good, but let us wait and see.

  • I thought Windows 7 was great, hopefully Microsoft can live up to expectations with Windows 8. Can’t wait to see it in action!

  • Bryan

    “Instead of continually getting in the way with pop-up nag screens (“You really should restart now”), Internet Explorer first-run pages, multi-step installers, and cluttered interfaces, Windows 8 gets out of the way,”

    Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen.

    The way MS crows this year about curing the diseases they created last year is reminiscent of an abusive parent… “Now love me for the soothing salve, and forget that I’m the one who held your your hand to the stove.”

    No doubt those who still get off on being beaten by Joan Crawford will rejoice to learn about “WireHanger 2.0! Now with padding!”

 
 
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