Yes you read that right. Yes, Windows, the operating system. It’s time to get excited about Windows. Call me mad if your will (“You’re mad!”), but I believe it’s time to start getting excited about Windows.
Over the past few of years Microsoft have been a little cautious about generating too much excitement around upcoming Windows releases. They released Windows Vista to the world with triumphant fanfare (remember the “Wow starts now” campaign?), only for it to crash and burn once the bugs started to surface. When it was time to release Windows 7, it’s like Microsoft did it by stealth and the “My idea” TV ads were more sausage and less sizzle. For the most part the tech community (and I guess consumers in general) have had little reason to get excited about new releases of Windows. New features, does this, doesn’t do that, blah blah blah.
So now we’re starting to hear things, bits and pieces about Windows 8, and I believe it’s time to get excited again. Here’s why I think that…
During Steve Ballmer’s opening keynote address at the 2011 CES held back in January in Las Vegas, Microsoft demoed the Windows 8 kernal running on ARM based CPUs and other system-on-a-chip hardware. The very same hardware that’s inside smartphone and tablet devices, just like Apple’s new A5 CPU. Catch where I’m going yet? Windows running on smaller, lighter, power efficient PCs.
[Another link here]
Now to add to this, Windows gurus Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera have just co-authored a series of blog posts titled “Windows 8 Secrets”. Rather than repeat anything they have to say, here are the links:
- Welcome Screen – Looking currently like a cross between Windows Phone and Windows
- Windows Explorer Ribbon – Just like Office 2007/2010 (and bits of Windows 7)
- Internet Explorer Immersive – A touch friend UX for IE9 that shares many similarities with Windows Phone
- Modern Reader – In built PDF (and no doubt, XPS) reader
- Aero Auto-Colourisation – Have your Aero theme automatically match the colour of your wallpaper
Top all that off with talk about AppX (a new way of application packaging that could probably allow for cross-platform application distribution with Windows Phone) and a new (additional) shell (codenamed MoSH) which features a tile-based, Windows Phone inspired UX.
Now do you get it? Managing a mostly Microsoft environment I’ve been struggling to find ways to fully integrate iPads and find suitable replacements for a aging notebook PCs for our execs who want the portability and battery life of an iPad, while still having all their regular PC tools and applications available. Could Windows 8 finally be the way Microsoft can be a real player with the tablet form-factor (after having “invented” it with Windows XP Tablet Edition)? Time will tell, but it certainly looks like the PC world is going to get exciting again pretty soon.