The web contemplates Microsoft's Windows 8 take on the post-PC era
Wednesday 14 September 2011
Microsoft says it has the future wrapped up in a neat little package called Windows 8 and it's not just Microsoft that's raving about its new baby. The web is bubbling with enthusiasm about the new operating system, labeling it the "ultimate Windows platform."
Microsoft has been showing off bits and pieces of its next-generation platform over the past few months but held off until its annual BUILD developers conference to give developers a detailed look at the nuts and bolts behind its post-PC-era computing solution.
It's clear that Microsoft's vision of the future involves touchscreens, tablets and apps that communicate with each other - but, of course, there's still a bit of room for the traditional desktop PC.
The concept behind Windows 8 is that it is a touch-first user interface built around Microsoft's iconic Metro style, a design style that was first introduced in Windows Phone 7.
"Like Apple's latest attempt at a desktop OS, Windows 8 borrows largely from its mobile kin, Window Phone 7, bringing its signature live tiles to tablets and PCs, and from what we've seen, it does so effortlessly," says Engadget after taking a hands-on spin with a tablet running Windows 8.
Windows 8 looks and feels like a completely new beast. As CNET puts it, "Windows 8 isn't just another operating system. It's a crucial bid by Microsoft to remain at the heart of computing as the industry grows well beyond the PC."
There is a huge amount riding on the success of Windows 8, especially at a time when both consumers and the tech world are watching iOS and the Mac ecosystem power into Apple's vision of the future.
After briefly testing Windows 8, "Apple bloggers were apparently so flustered by the platform that they resorted to bombarding Twitter with jokes about cooling fans and Silverlight instead of stopping for a moment to realize that Microsoft is showing us the future of computing," reported BGR while Twitterers taunted, "Hello, Windows 8? This is iPad. You win."
However not all so-called "Apple fanboys" are sweating over the Windows 8 preview.
"I’d be appalled if Apple were to unveil something in the half- (if that) finished state of Windows 8 for tablets," writes the Daring Fireball. "I enjoy writing about what’s real. And no matter how good the demo, I’d be wary of predicting success a year in advance against a technically outstanding and phenomenally popular product like the iPad."
Daring Fireball is not the only blog criticizing Microsoft for showing off a product that won’t be ready for consumption until (the rumored launch date of) 2012.
"If we’re going to be totally honest," says This is my Next in its comprehensive look at the OS, "we’d describe Windows 8 right now as incoherent and contradictory."
Despite the premature nature of the preview (a lot can happen in the tech world in one year), Windows 8 alludes to a positive future for computer users. A future in which not everyone will strive to release an iPad/iOS clone but where touch-based, intuitive and on-the-go computing will rule and innovative hardware will (hopefully) follow.
Watch highlights of Microsoft's BUILD conference Windows 8 keynote here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hq95vtoS28
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