Reality Check:Yeah Windows 8 is Happening

On October 25 a significant event will happen. To the average everyday person it is just an average day on the path to Halloween. To us techies it means a significant paradigm shift. On that day Windows 8 will be released. With it comes the idea of the future. The idea that computers are more than just spreadsheet machines. The idea that computers can be ultra portable and use touch screens. The idea that design really matters. From that day forward the way we use computers will be forever changed; If Windows 8 succeeds.

If Windows 8 Succeeds

If Windows 8 really catches on it would mean that touch screens are here to stay. As cool as Windows 8 is on my HP laptop, Windows 8 is begging me to touch its screen. The tiles, the Start Screen, the whole Modern design in Windows 8; It was created with touch in mind. I don’t really see a swarm of people who don’t have touch screens upgrading to Windows 8 Pro. Sure you get the App Store, but in the long run it just won’t feel natural and you won’t get the full benefits. This is where new devices come in. Most if not all Windows 8 machines come touch ready. The other idea that Microsoft is selling here is the idea of what a computer should be.

When we first took a look at the devices that were coming for Windows 8 we were surprised at how all of them were designed, and when I say design I mean hardware wise. All of them look unique. Each one is like something out of a Transformers movie. Windows 8 is supposed to cater to everyone. When one thinks of a Windows 8 machine they should not think of an iPad because it’s more than that. It’s not just an entertainment device. Yes Windows 8 can be entertainmening but it could also handle real work with Office support and for those running Windows Pro Photoshop should be a delightful sight. Unlike the iPad, Windows 8 machines can utilize other computing peripherals like keyboards, mouses, and printers. Windows 8 machines do not compromise like any other mobile devices. It is a full on computer and in time it should replace the old guard Windows 7.

The Windows Store would then become the default location to find programs. Some do not like this idea and some do. The Windows Store assures that most of the programs will be secure and easy to find. The downside to this would be that developers would have to give up a certain percentage of their profits to Microsoft, just like the Apple App Store. The users of Windows 8 RT will forever get used to Modern apps and with time the whole world will transition to it. Remember that Windows RT is the future. It is meant to replace the classic desktop. Meaning the future of all apps will have the Modern design. Is that a bad thing? It depends. Some people like to freely express themselves. For good or bad.

Img src:http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/12/3493836/skype-netflix-windows-8-apps-best-buy

The machines available right now at Best Buy showcase the touch capabilities. Microsoft themselves forged their own machine in the shape of a Tablet. The Surface is Tablet first and laptop second.

The Legacy

The Surface is truly the machine Microsoft wanted to showcase Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. There are no compromises with the Surface. You get the full on portable tablet/laptop experience. The keyboard is the return of the past. Sure touchscreens are the future but in order for people to adjust they need to hold on to the past. Remember that everyone hates change and the keyboard is a bone to those who can’t let go of the past. That is also the purpose of the Surface Pro. Microsoft is trying to sell Windows RT. That is were the future is at. That is why Surface RT is being sold first and before Surface Pro. Microsoft want’s to grow the Windows RT user base so that it’s ecosystem can grow. The Surface Pro would be a deterrent from that. Surface Pro is the bridge. The Surface Pro contains Windows 8 Pro, meaning that it has access to the classic desktop. All those older Windows 7 programs are completely functional on Windows 8 Pro. Why would people develop from Win 8 RT when Win 8 Pro already has such a large user base and contains the most programs in the world?

 

At first it can become overwhelming. My first experience with Windows 8 went something like this. At first glance I was pretty awe struck looking at the Start Screen and with little thought in mind I clicked on a tile. It was before the apps were anywhere but close to completion and was disappointed in the app, So I decided to leave the app. But wait! How the hell do you get out of an app on Windows 8? There is no exit button on the top corner, in fact there is nothing on the corner of the app. What now? Frustration that is what. I went into a flurry of button presses to see if any of them did anything. Nothing happened. I rattled my touch pad and then at the edge of the screen something popped up. It was the charms bar. It popped up and as soon as it came up, it went away. “What was that?” I said. I tried to reproduce the action that caused the bar to come up. Quickly I discovered that the corners of the screen controlled certain actions. I was a bit frustrated that this was the way to interact with Windows 8 until I realized that it was exactly like Windows 7. The corners of the screen on Windows 7 are what you interact with the most is it not? The rest of my Windows 8 experience was basically that. Discovering features by messing around with it. In the end it is almost the same thing. With time one will become use to the controls like any other electronic device. The biggest differences will be right clicking, the file system, and the new look. Some will like the changes, other people will not. Luckily there are touch screens for easy navigation.

And if it were to Fail…

Windows 8 is a pretty big gamble. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said it himself before showing off Windows 8. He was right. How in the world is Microsoft planning to sell Windows 8 to the world? A bigger question is how are they planning on teaching Windows 8 to the world. Remember that thing I said about change? Yeah, Windows 8 is a big change.

With the new look and user interface comes the danger the masses will not want to adopt to change. If they are not able to adopt to change there will be little to no reason for app developers to flock to the Windows Store. Less Apps equals smaller ecosystems. A small ecosystem will not attract customers at all. It’s a cycle. One that can be witnessed by Windows Phones. Sure Windows Phones are really neat looking but people want apps not just looks. At the college that I go to a met a young woman with a Windows Phone. She thought of it as a good looking phone but wanted apps like Instagram. The same could happen to Windows 8.

If Windows 8 becomes as successful as Windows Phone, which is not, Microsoft will be in big trouble. Windows is one of the biggest revenue streams for Microsoft and if that goes it will not be a pretty picture. No, it might not be dooms day for Microsoft because of the size of the company but it will cause for an interesting day at Wall Street. Windows 7 will have to pick up the slack from Windows 8 for another several years until Microsoft can build a better product.

Right now there is no way to tell how people are going to react to Windows 8. Not many people know of its existence and if Microsoft gets that Tutorial right they might pull it off. The marketing needs to be top notch. It should clearly demonstrate why users should upgrade from their current machines. For now we can only wait. I will be one of those who buys a Surface day one. So be on the look out for our thoughts on it here on Zunited. Have you followed and liked us yet?