Hello everyone! Welcome to my first Blog. Well technically it is the second blog. The first one just says “Stop it!”. Anyways, we all know that Windows 8 is due to be released, according to some rumors, by the end of this year and it looks like with the release of the latest version, all Windows users will enter into a whole new experience, that Windows 8 is all about. The touch experience!
Installation is pretty easy. Do you guys remember the time when it was almost impossible to install a copy of Windows in one go? Sometimes the process required taking out RAM and putting it back in (routine for clearing RAM, as it was called). I have also had the privilege of meeting my AMD Athlon processor once when Windows 98 would not install, but let’s keep that story for another day. We are in an era of wonderful technological advancements and Windows is as easy to install as it gets. The only natural evolution would be installing it online and I am sure Microsoft is on it. Apple has already started doing that with OS X Lion.
The first thing that you will notice is that the lock screen now looks like a locked screen on any random tablet. Actually, you do not have to go in to see the change in the OS. In my opinion, the lock screen tells everything about Windows’s new direction. It is no longer a PC desktop/laptop OS. It is a unified operating system that can be installed on practically any compatible (hardware wise) device. This includes tablets, touch screen all-in-one computers, and of course laptops and desktops. This indeed is a paradigm shift from Microsoft’s end and was confirmed in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview keynote two days ago.
Microsoft is one of those companies that sees the market and changes it’s strategy and of course it turns out to be good for them and the industry. Compare this to Apple that arguably drives where the industry goes. Therefore, it looks like Microsoft has seen the potential in tablets and has played a safe game. It can never make sense to get rid of the desktop therefore, now, the “desktop” is just another app on Windows 8 except that it is as fully functional as it has been.
Once you enter the OS you are greeted by a tiled interface (called the Metro Interface) that is not new. This is the same interface that Windows Phone 7 boasts but the apps are tailored for the bigger screen. It must be noted that there are not many apps right now. Even the basic most frequently used apps do not work as apps. Although, every app (formerly known as application) that works on Windows 7 does work on Windows 8 but not all work independently from the Metro Interface. These apps open inside the desktop app in a very backward compatible way. This also makes the whole new experience kind of “old”.
It is a beta testing version so not much can be conclusively said about functionality in the apps but there is a learning curve to it. Even hard-core Windows users will find it difficult to get around initially. But as you use it, it grows on you. One thing that you will notice however is that the interface is very fluid and responsive. Apps are connected and can talk with each other, mostly. I am sure it will get better with time. The OS with some apps open uses about 2GB of RAM on average which is amazing keeping in mind the Windows tradition of increasing RAM requirements with each new OS. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that Windows 8 targets not only desktops and laptops with more resources but tablets as well that may not have enough. This is a very welcome change and I hope it continues in the future.
I do want to talk about the Mail app though. It is good and that is about it. I am assuming that it is a beta version and that is why it is missing many key features but the way it looks and works is superb. I miss Outlook 2010 at this point primarily because of lack of basic features in the mail app but I can always install Outlook on the desktop app. Nothing much to say about the store though. Microsoft has got the idea and has implemented it pretty well.
To sum it up, I think Windows 8 will prove to be a winner both in tablet and in desktop/laptop category. It has a long way to go but the start looks like a million steps already.