Saturday, August 25, 2012

Windows 8

I do not yet run Windows 8. It hasn't been released to retail yet. Though it is available on MSDN and TechNet, I am not a subscriber to either.

I do, however, read everything I can about it, thanks to following many tech sites. I've come to the conclusion that Windows 8 is unconditionally better than Windows 7. Why?

For system administrators and power users, there's TechNet's "Explore Windows 8". It's quite an impressive list.

For power users and regular users, there's a great recent article, Windows 8 productivity: Who moved my cheese? Oh, there it is. It explains the most likely hurdles a new user will face, how to easily overcome them, and what new features Windows 8 offers to make day-to-day work easier.

Oh, there's also the small matter of unification between Windows 8 (on the desktop), Windows 8 Phone, and Windows RT for tablets. It's Microsoft's goal that new apps1 run on all three platforms! How amazing would it be to run the same app on any form-factor?

There has been a lot of interest in running Android on the desktop. People want the unification of apps and settings between their Android phone, tablet, and the desktop. I've not heard of anyone actually running Android as their primary operating system, however. Maybe it's that Android runs only Android apps—and Android apps have always been designed for a certain form-factor. Are there any Android apps that benefit from a 1920x1200 monitor? Probably not.

Similarly, iOS mobile apps cannot run on MacOS X.

Today's Windows landscape, however, would allow developers to create apps that, without any modification, can run on devices ranging from a smartphone to a powerful desktop machine with multiple giant monitors. Microsoft would be a first2 to make this unification a reality.

Devices and availability:
  • October 26th: Windows 8 for the desktop becomes available for all. Anyone running Windows XP or above can upgrade for $39.99.
  • Windows Surface: expected to be the first tablet running Windows RT. It's developed directly by Microsoft.
  • Windows Surface's release date is uncertain, but Engadget expects it on October 26th for as low as $199.
  • Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Samsung are also planning to launch their own tablets running Windows RT.
  • AT&T already offers at least one smartphone running Windows Phone 8, while Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are preparing to launch them this year. Nokia Lumia 900, a WP8 handset on AT&T, has very positive reviews.
While iOS and Android are today's media darlings, let's not ignore Windows just yet. The triumvirate of Windows 8, Windows 8 Phone, and Windows RT has a lot of potential.

1 Metro-style, with certain limitations
2 May I ignore Java?