Let me start by saying that ‘I Love Windows 8’ and it is definitely going to be biggg. I don’t know how much it will change by the time it is launched but in its current state, it looks on track. My opinion is based on three observations.
- The Visual Changes & Start button gamble
The Metro style is a nice and welcome change from traditional Windows system. What we need to understand is that for any company, detouring from their tried and tested way of things to uncertainty, is huge change. Microsoft has taken a big gamble by removing the Start button and a company can do that if only is has confidence in what it is doing. An example from Apple comes to mind. When Lion was launched, it was very different from Snow Leopard. Many users were unhappy but ultimately most of them adapted. I am guessing same would happen to traditional Windows users. They would miss Start button for a few days (trust me I was one of them) but once they realise the benefits, user adoption would increase.
Lets talk a little bit about the UI itself. The Metro UI feels like its been thought out from the beginning. It feels great on a laptop and also on a touch screen device. I used it on Nokia Lumia 800 but haven’t got a chance to try it on a tablet yet. The live tiles concept is super cool and switching between Metro and Desktop style is fascinating on a laptop. The native Metro apps are a breeze to use and aesthetically well designed. Running the application in full screen mode will certainly improve productivity. I am expecting some kind of a subtle notification system in the final version though. As more and more application start using the Metro style and traditional users adapt to Windows 8 way of things I can see the Windows Store booming with quality apps.
- The PC and Table Fusion
Yes the Windows tablet is going to be a PC as well. At least that’s where it seems like its heading. You would have a fairly powerful tablet (a PC in itself) which you can use as media consumption device and then would be able to dock it in a custom dock and you would have the power of full blown desktop. Personally, I love this idea. The distinction between a computer (which includes PC and Mac) and a tablet has always been intriguing to me. Whatever a tablet can do, a computer can do. In many a tasks, it outperforms the tablet. The difference is with form factor. But with technology growth, isn’t it natural to see them culminating? Throw in the mix of cloud and you are looking at a device which can be a focal point of your life. That’s where Windows 8 seems to be heading. Apple, however, seems like want to maintain this gap.
- The OEMs, User base and adaptability
Take all these three together. Almost every big PC/Laptop maker manufactures a PC with Windows license. HP,Dell, Lenovo, IBM, Toshiba, Packard Bell, Acer, Asus you name it. If each one of them adopts to Windows 8 and brings out products, can you imagine the choices? The other side effect of this competition will be cheaper products at better quality for an ordinary man. As far as user base is considered, one cannot deny that Windows is the leader. According to Microsoft there are more that 1.5Billion PCs in use. What Microsoft has done with Windows 8 is that they have changed it in such a way that it is still attractive to old timers. Adapting it would be easier plus it will bring some novelty to the game. Many were complaining that Windows is same since 1995. It is still essentially the same but with added bits of twist. I am sure some of them would want to try it.
So here are my thoughts so far on Windows 8. I want to make it clear that these are my personal opinions and are very subject to change :).