Windows 8: First Impressions

Posted on

This morning I started my daily news review by reading articles on the new Windows 8 OS that Microsoft demoed.  Reviews are ranging from lackluster to stellar, which has to be very frustrating to Redmond right now.  The key features of Windows 8 is that it focuses on the tablet world, almost seeming to leave the PC world behind.  Personally, I think the move shows just how badly Microsoft wants to get into the Tablet game again, one that it started years ago but couldn't get to take off.  They needed something dramatic, and looked to their Windows Phone 7 and Zune roots to find it.  And they did, with the default Windows 8 environment being the result. This works, in that they have shown their investors that they do not intend to be left behind in the Tablet world, particularly with ARM processors being so popular in iOS and Android devices.  They also seem to be mimicking Apple with their centralized Windows App Store, though the apps will be written in HTML5 and Javascript, al-la WebOS.But the whole problem with Windows up to now has not been their dedication to a platform, but their user interface.  When the Windows GUI first came out, it was clunky, but was a huge improvement for most people over the original DOS based interface options.  Now they could see, use a mouse, drag things, and have pictures of their kids staring back at them all day long.  The interface became the standard, one that has seen duplicates and "reinventions" that were the same but different in other OS releases.  But was it the best interface?  I don't think so, and I say that with years of being a PC technician under my belt.  But it didn't matter, because it was an interface with which people were familiar.  Change the interface, and you change the experience.  Years dominating a market no longer counts, as you have rebooted the whole game with a new player. So what do I think of the new OS?  I love it!  Why?  Because it emphasizes the coming Tablet market as the new computing platform, and Microsoft getting into the game throws the final nail into the need for huge towers and clunky monitors.  Microsoft finally shows that they get it!  They know that the way to compete in the new world of the iPad, Zoom, and the TouchPad is to develop an OS that caters to the user, not to convention.  User-friendly is not enough anymore, you have to be almost invisible to the User, getting them to their apps without knowing they are on the OS.  That is the future of computing, and Microsoft seems to have seen the light. That being said, there is going to be a huge learning curve when it comes to the new OS, particularly by those who have stuck with Microsoft through the Me fiasco, and the recent Windows Vista debacle.  Much like the interface complaints of Office 2007, Windows 8 is going to take some getting used to.  The saving grace is the ability to go back to the original Windows 8 interface if wanted.  That will keep just about everyone happy, I would think. So why do I like Windows 8?  From the slideshows and the reports that I've heard, it seems to me that Windows 8 is giving you a more streamlined experience.  I'll reserve any final judgements when I finally get my hands on a copy, but it looks like it will be a great day for users who just want to get to their apps and not have to worry about how to get there.  Apple has done this with their Launchpad in 10.7, and I think it's no coincidence that Microsoft planned this announcement ahead of Apple's WWDC next week.  They wanted to show Apple what they have planned, and it is promising for Microsoft as it looks like it's going to be a good move for the tablet world. What would I like to see in Windows 8?  Stability.  And by stability, I mean no Registry.  Microsoft has owned XENIX for decades, their licensed version of UNIX, and have the ability to bring the stability and reliability of UNIX to Windows by getting rid of that registry. Do I think they did it?  Not in the least, but one can dream.  On the other hand, with the new apps being a combination of HTML5 and Javascript, programming for a Windows computer has never been easier.  Also, since this technology is hardly system intensive and most likely would not need registry entries, it could provide a level of stability unseen in Windows since, well, since I could remember.  So I think as a whole Microsoft is finally asserting themselves as a new Tech company, and it seems they are primarily targeting Apple and Google in their quest for relevancy.  It really does look like they are pandering to stockholders here, but, as stockholders have a vested interest in the company's success, perhaps a little pandering isn't a bad thing. What do you think of the new Windows 8 OS?