Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Like I said in my first post, I had a computer since I was 5 so I have used most popular operating systems. At that time, I was running Windows 3.1 and as I grew older, I went though Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista and the current one, Windows 7. The marketing geniuses at Microsoft decided to name the next version Windows 8 and they also changed the Windows logo which was used since XP. The new logo looks way more like an actual window and kind of gives away the real big change in Windows 8: the UI. They originally called the Metro UI but they had to find a new name for it because it was already taken by a German company. The rumours say it will be called Modern UI but that is not clear yet. The other big thing about it is that it will look the same whether you use it on a tablet, a laptop or a desktop PC. Lets take a look at some of the new features Windows 8 has to offer.
We saw the Modern UI for the first time when Microsoft released their mobile platform Windows Phone 7. The philosophy behind the Modern UI is "content before chrome" which means giving priority to the content instead of giving it to graphics. I think it is simply brilliant and it should be the way to go for everyone. What it actually looks like is a list of tiles each with specific content that is tied to an application. You can still go back to what Windows used to look like but the sad part is that from what I heard, you won't be able to boot your computer directly in classic mode.
It seems that Microsoft decided to rebrand the games we are all used to play : Solitaire, MinesSweeper and Mahjong. They are all going to be under the new banner named Xbox Windows. You will also be able to unlock Xbox Live Achievements and it will integrate all of the gamification you could expect. It will also be included on Windows Phone so maybe you will be able to play the same game on your Phone, PC and Tablet.
Windows to Go
This feature is a really cool one but at the same time, Microsoft had to have it. Other OS's like Ubuntu based on Linux had the ability to be used on a USB key. That means that you can walk around with your computer in your pockets. Well, not a full computer, just the data it contains. While not many people will use this feature, it is a good thing Microsoft added it in.
Windows Live Syncing
To me, this is the best feature of Windows 8 hands down ! Windows Live Syncing will allow you to use your computer on another computer. That means that you can log in to your friend's PC with your own username and password to access your files and programs. It will also have your basic settings.
Full Touch Support
Since the newest version of Windows will run on any type of device, it will support touch screen interactions. You will be able to use Windows the same way on a PC and on a tablet. Even the phone version will look almost the same. I think this is the best way to go about it because people don't want to adapt the way they are using Windows depending on what device they are using.
I remember when I was younger I had to figure out by myself which program would do the things I wanted to do with my computer. As smartphones started to come out, the manufacturers decided to adopt a new way of providing applications to the users that we now call "Stores". Apple has the AppStore, Google has Google Play and now Windows will have Windows Store. The Windows store will provide users with a similar experience but on a PC.
Since the beginning of times, booting a computer has always been a long process. I remember my brother once told me the first thing he did in the morning was starting his computer, take a shower, get a coffee and wait 10 more minutes before he could start to use his PC. Google tried tackling this problem with their ChomeBooks but this matter is for another post. From what I have heard, the booting time on Windows 8 will be significantly less than what it previously was. I am eager to see how fast it will be.
I always hated Internet Explorer and I still do. It is probably the worse browser out there. The next version is supposed to have a big overhaul but I won't take Microsoft's word until I try it out myself. It is supposed to have better HTML5 and CSS3 integration but I realise this is useless information to most people. The bottom line is it is supposed to work better and display web pages in a better way.
We are expecting it to launch at the end of October, probably around the same time Microsoft Surface tablets come out. The latest rumours suggest they will only cost 199 $ but I am not sure this is completely accurate. Windows 8 will definitely change the way we use computers but I am sceptic about how it will be adopted by the general public since Windows 7 is still very good. I guess the only thing we can do is wait for it to come out.