My analysis of Windows 8 at this point

Windows8-analysis

There has been a lot of buzz around the early concepts for Windows 8 in the past couple of days and quite frankly it has been a lot to digest.

It’s funny because there has been so much secrecy and silence and then boom! - a ton of information in one day (yesterday June 1, 2011).

OK so what to make of it all?

To give you some background, I’m a former Microsoft MVP and have been writing about Windows 8 since November 5, 2009.

I’ve written approximately 405 blog posts about the operating system on my site Windows8update.com and It has been interesting to see how concepts have evolved in the 19 months since I started.

Let’s start with a caveat

I acknowledge that Windows 8 is still very early in the development cycle.

While they are rumored to be near Beta, a lot of things are still very subject to change.

Having said that, let’s take a look at what we know so far.

The new tablet UI looks like this:

Windows 8 tile interface

Windows 8 tile interface

From the past couple of days, here are the relevant points that have been revealed about Windows 8.

  • Windows 8 will be able to run on a wide range of machines because it will have the same system requirements or lower than Windows 7
  • Windows 8 re imagines every level of the Windows architecture — the kernel, networking, storage, devices, user interface
  • The new OS is REALLY FAST and FLUID.
  • The new OS is Created on Windows’ new application development platform. Based on HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.
  • There seem to be 2 interfaces – One for tablets and touch and the other for traditional desktop.
  • The 2 interfaces (at this point) seem to be in the same OS.
  • It has live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps.
  • You can switch between apps by just dragging them in from the side.
  • Although the new user interface is designed and optimized for touch, it works equally well with a mouse and keyboard
  • There are rumors of less versions of Windows 8 than the traditional versions of Windows 7 (Enterprise, Home etc)
  • IE10 will be introduced with Windows 8
  • Switching between the live-tile UI and the usual desktop is instantaneous.
  • The tablet tiles have a very slick feel to them.
  • You can also do a split-screen interface, where you see both the new and the old UI side by side.
  • With Windows 8, apps are all optimized for touch.
  • PageUp and PageDown buttons will allow you to move between tiles on non-touchscreen devices.
  • It will have a new mode called “always on, always connected” – It’ll permit for instant wake-up from sleep and keep the ARM tablets constantly connected to the web.
  • It will allow tablets to connect to USB sticks
  • UEFI engagement will help with speeding up boot times – systems with SSDs in them could go from a cold boot to the Start screen in under 6 seconds.”
  • It will require a minimum of 1366 x 768 resolution for the best Windows 8 experience. 1024 x 768 will be the absolute minimum for the new UI fanciness and 1024 x 600 will let you run Windows 8 in the classic desktop mode.

That’s a lot to absorb but it sounds very cool so far.

My thoughts are the following:

It makes sense now that Steve Ballmer said that this was the riskiest thing that Microsoft have ever done with Windows.

Steve Ballmer was right (never thought I would say that) – they are throwing all the chips on the table.

This is a reimagining of Windows the likes of which we have never seen.

Now, the fact that they kept access to the “old” UI is a smart move and guarantees that if the tablet interface is not your cup of tea, you dont ever need to use it.

There are a thousand different questions at this point but they will be answered by Microsoft later.

Here is my main concern..

I heard Julie Larson-Green say Windows has been reimagined to be more “Modern” – not easier to use but more modern.

There is nothing inherently sexy with having a tiled interface. While tablets are all moving in that direction, the real challenge is making sure that users can get to what they need in an intuitive manner.

When it comes to these user interface issues, less is more.

I desperately hope that Microsoft are studying and reverse engineering Apple’s UI principles because they are the reasons their Ipads and I-products are successful.

a-tablet-device-needs-to-be-this-simple

a tablet device needs to be this simple

My mother is in her 70′s and can use an Ipad. It’s not confusing because it works as expected and things are easy to find.

Based on what I have seen so far, the reimagining of Windows 8 looks cool but it’s too early to say it looks simple.

There was a lot of talk about applications talking to each other and interfaces etc.. they need to abstract users from the tech stuff as appropriate.

That will be the key to success in this regard.

As an aside, I have an Iphone and an Ipad2. I have tried the tabet UI of Windows Phone 7 before in a store for 20 minutes. It seemed nice but it hands down does not compare to the use and simplicity of the Iphone.

If Microsoft build something that is really cool and geeky but isn’t grandma friendly, say goodbye to both grandma and the enterprise.

Large companies dont need to deploy apps with a steep learning curve, they will just stick with Windows 7 and stubbornly refuse to upgrade (like the XP Vista debacle).

I give Microsoft tons of credit for being bold and taking risks…lets hope they pay off.

That’s my rough take on it so far, let me know what you think….

Leave your comments below.

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  • Abiodun Atunwa

    I think I agree at this point…looks good but keep your fingers crossed…

    • Alanlloyd00

      well vista ulta i have not had trouble with xp was good waiting for windows 8 to come out before i make a new computer so i will have the new cpu ram and gpu 

  • Jamie ray

    Cautiously optimistic…. seems like a hell of a lot of new stuff…

  • Apple Fan

    Fuck Windows.. Ia m an Apple fan forever

    • MrReezman

      ah it surprises me…how come an Apple fan dig into windows news…..
      and it is not about being fan of apple or windows, it is about the innovations microsoft is about to bring with the windows 8 releasd.

    • csmith

      A pity Apples don’t appear to have spell checkers!

  • Andy18699

    A lot of stuff to comprehend and all in such a short time. But no doubt once it comes out it will hopefully quite usefull.

  • Zaner1000

    Windows SUCKS!!! That’s why I switched to Safari and my new computer is an Apple!!!

    Bill Gates SUCKS! Mrs. Gates SUCKS! MicroSoft SUCKS! Windows SUCKS! Bite Me, Bill!!!

    • Robind

      What makes you hate Microsoft and Windows so much that you can’t say anything good about Microsoft, remember, Bill gates was not the orignal creator of Microsoft.

    • Georgethecrow

      Here is not for “Apple” people.   

      Especially for you.  Try with mainframe – may be you will like it. :D  

  • Dad Sohrab

    thank’s it’s best to know all about new stuff,but shall we all be optimistic? anyway i always be xp user.

  • BigJohnL

    Great update, except for all the Fruit computer people that hang around this excellent site. Don’t know why they are here if they hate it so much. Must be jealous of the number of happy Windows users. 

  • http://twitter.com/dkfelter Deane K. Felter

    It is too bad Microsoft could not prevent the leaks so that the geeks & guru’s could be prevented from reporting on the negatives which makes them happy. Much like the migration from XP etc to Vista, as a group they found problem aftyer problem with Vista because they tried their best to defeat Vista. On a day to day basis, I use Vista Ultimate and I can report absolutely no problems- hardware problems yes and other software problems yes but Vista no. Because I did not spend my days trying to exploit Vista. As for the Windows 8, if it comes close to the Apple systems, they may have a real winner as IE 9 was a huge improvement. My preference would be to have Microsoft really put some serious effort into revamping MS Office as it has far too many problems as evidenced by the emails received from Outlook Tips. One last comment, if Microsoft could develope one operating system for the desk top, laptop, tablet & smartphone, that would be the grand slam home run of all time- good bye Apple.

    Deane Felter

  • Robind

    i will start off by saying, progress is good, although it is still slow for microsoft, I look forward to trying out Windows 8, yet I have read many reviews on sites, and sadly I am still not impressed with the progress, many say it is Windows 7, but tweaked up, heck I am runing Windows 7 ultimate and Windows 7 eternity, and eternity runs better then Ultimate, but systems are the same specs, all 4 monitors are touch screen, so that should help with the comming of W8.
    What I want to see in a os is more 3D, I an tired of seing the FLAT effect on the screen, I am working on my own creation of Windows and I am interducing more 3D effects be it used by a mouse or fingers,
    I have played MANY games and that is where I get my ideas, I want to create something that blows the mind yet simple to use, I have stripped the System32 and Windows files and added other programs off the net that will inhance the os.
    Well I will keep an eye on W8 and see what comes of it, but I don’t expect to be blown away.
    But for now I prefer using W7 Eternity, tweaked and all, I am only 14 but I am no dummy, and no, I am not a nerd, just someone that likes to play around in the system files…

    Again, thanks for your reviews, but give us something we can dig our teeth in to about W8

    Regards

    Robin De Charnay

    INSIDE MY ONE PC BELOW

    • Robind

      Hi Deane, I have one question for you,
      What is so great about IE9?
      I downloaded it and have had endless problems so I will stick to using Maxthon 3.

      • http://www.facebook.com/logan.ny Logan del Sol

        What kind of problems?

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      LOL

      I can only give you what Microsoft have given us.

      September will bring a lot more updates

  • Georgethecrow

    It’s really good. 

    I test it for a few months.  
    Do not post comments if your not test it !!! 

    • Robind

      Are you testing the os Microsoft is busy with or a version downloaded off priate sites, I downloaded W8, but when I installed it found it to be a rip off of W7 (Something like Eternity)

      I am still searching the net for a W8 and I will find it.

  • Donald

    WAIT AND SEE !!!

  • leeGordon

    This is the first W8 review I have read in awhile.  What I miss seeing, is a discussion of a 64-bit vs.32-bit installation.  I would also like to know how much RAM the OS will use and how a suite of 64-bit and 32-bit apps will perform on the same hardware compared with W7.  For people with SSDs, I hope that MS will allow an easy installation across multiple drives. 

  • Average Dan

    Quite a lot going here for an average soul nearing 60.  Just trying to stay with the curve, instead of always at the bottom end.  Coming from the construction industry I did not use computers greatly until Windows ME. I still have the scars to prove it. Currently still use laptops with XP, Vista, and & 7 from the same price range ($500).  7 is so much better than the others, that I must say I more than interested in the coming of 8.  Thank you Onuora for all the info and opinions.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      You’re very welcome.
      :-)

  • Perfectjenson

    I used win xp before . Then while migrating to win7 it took upgrading of ram for smoother functioning. Now don’t know what will be the minimum requirement for win 8

  • Thisromeoissecret

    For people with a non-touch desktop computer, the tiled UI will be a bit difficult to digest and get used to… Overall, the tiled Start page is just a new way to see the installed applications, group and organise them and launch them. It doesn’t do anything more than that!!! Even Windows Explorer is based on aero… Windows Explorer is the most basic part of the Windows UI and if it is still is aero, that means this new metro tile UI is just a shell on top of the aero… Only the Start page is tiled and everything else is the old aero…

  • Zztop11111

    So far I like windows 7. But I also liked windows 98 and xp. I didn’t to much like windows vista. But as far as having to touch my screen or any other screen I am not fond of the idea. Example, suppose you are at work and you have several of thoses screens. Now you have no idea who has touched you screen and you have no idea who will touch your screen and then you have to ask yourself a question. Did they wash their hands before they came touching your screen? Did they wash their hands before they touched their screen. I do not eat in a restraunt that does not supply paper rowels after you wash your hands. I have set in restrooms and watched to see how many people washed their hands before leaving. And the number of people who does not wash their hands was and is staggering. It scares me to shake a mans hand. Because I am wondering did he wash his hands before leaving the restroom? Well most of the time the answer is no!!!!!!!!!! So you want me and a million and counting to have touch screens in work places and at home? I don’t think so!!!!!!!!!

  • Innkeeper

    Hi all this may well be true and we will see what the final product looks like. I would refer to Microsofts record to date, about every second version of windows is crap eg Windows ME and Vista so lets hope Microsoft gets Windows 8 right and have the same success as Windows 7.
    Innkeeper

  • Jim-shep

    I was wondering if the windows 8 beta will be release to all for testing as per windows 7.I firmly believe thst because of the mass testing enabled windows 7 to be as successfull as it is

  • Robind

    Hi Onuora, I have one question for you now, How does one become a beta tester for new os?
    I think it would be quite interesting testing a new os,
    There will be one setback when W8 comes out and that will be software compatability, as many know, there are Win95, XP, ME… software problems, many older programs will not run on W7… so what will W8 offer to fix this problem?

    I have tried most os including Linux, Ubuntu, I must say, anyone that uses Linux knows it gives problems, i tried loading Windows based games using WINE but after a while, removed Linux,
    Windows is still the best on the market, ask the multi millions that use it today.
    I tried a theme (8 Skin Pack) I do hope W8 will not look like the image below, I think it sux.

  • Ben

    Bottom line: what will people be able to do with Wn 8 that they can’t do with  Win 7?

  • Mina Inzulu

    Onuora hi!

    Your review is quite good, but too “bitty”: the paragraphs are too short and staccato, and you don’t develop important points sufficiently; e. g.the remarks about the interface are unclear.
    Also, s leeGordon noted, some sort of discussion of 32-vs 64 bit O/Ss is essential.
    Finally, ‘ It seemed nice but it hands down does not compare to the use and simplicity of the Iphone.” doesn’t really say anything.

    May I suugest that your review deal with fewer topics, but each at more depth.

    Mina Inzulu

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Hi Mina,
         Thanks for the feedback. 

      All very valid and valuable. I was in kind of a rush to put this out but I’ll do better on the next go around.
      :-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QPBMMSJI4ILICHA2MZQWTTTQVU damilola

    It’s  simple .It must be better than Apple,it should be integrated on mobile devices ,like the windows 7,and it should be SIMPLE.If they can’t do these,they are OUT

  • felix adjei

    i think win7 is good but i want  to try win 8 and see its fun but i am wondering if  it will support 64bit laptop with win vista driver if it will support then i will love it .    

  • Itchlb2001

    still suffering for some programs which is not downloadable and uncompatible with win 7 such as engeniring programs like autocad and 3d max as my laptop is latest hp with 64 bit, and that programs compatible with 32 bit only. wandering if already find a solution for this problem in win 8. thanx

    • Poete

      what are you telling?

      i have both autocad and 3d max running here on win7 64 bit.

      i don´t even bother to install the 32 bit version of 3d max (which is running fine on win7 64 bit).
      and ever version since max 9 i had running, run fine with a 64 bit windows.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sardian.fauzyakbar Sardian Fauzy Akbar

    so far I like windows 7.

  • http://twitter.com/utvsupport Brian mcfaul

    Hi Onuora so far i have read your reviews from you started about windows 8 and all seem very good and interesting i am just waiting on the beta testing to start to see if it will live up to the hype but so far good job 

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thanks dude.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vijay-Wrox/1359579358 Vijay Wrox

    As many have said before me, people like me who have no touch sensitive devices, this OS does seem to be hard to digest at first. Windows 7 seems the best choice if this is the case.

    Nice review by the way. Not too comprehensive, yes. But you’ve covered almost all of the points needed for an overall understanding of the new OS. Thanks for this.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thanks.

      I tried to do a real world review – what would someone off the street need to know..

  • Tai Lam Phat

    I think the UI’s windows 8 on tablet is excellent. The switching others windows made me surprised. Keep go on

  • kevin

    hmm.. I think I have to stay on windows 7.

  • Yogesh Kumar

    I think Windows 8 will be a nice experience of advanced technology and will wait for its launch.

  • Johnboy 0505

    You are right it is a lot to absorb but I found the information very helpful in understanding more fully what is coming up in the future. I like to be kept abreast of things even though I am now getting older lol lol.

  • MrReezman

    Well i can’t wait to look forward the release of windows 8…sounds interesting…and i bet the final release will not seem as complex as described in this review….tile UI is a cool idea….and certainly its time for people to move on from that old look and UI…lets be optimistic and not criticise about something that is not complete yet…

  • Wayne Dekock

    Lets hope its easier . Because a large number of elderly users reverted to Xp complaining Win7 was completed

  • Douglas Rees

    I guess that I am old and thick headed but iPads and Tablets are of no interest to me. I use Windows 7 on 2 computers, my 3rd machine being an Apple iMac with a hard drive dividing partition on which the second half is running Windows XP.  I am as Mad as hell that I cannot use my aging video editor or Cool Edit 2 in Windows 7. These are what I need most. I imagine that Windows 8 will be the same in that respect. I have both Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Home Premium and my video and audio editors won’t run in either.  By the way there is no up to date replacement for Ulead DVD workshop so if Windows Xp dies I am “up the creek”.

  • Aaron Momoh

    mr. amobi, really interesting what you said about the windows phone. seeing as microsoft is pushing all their products into the whole metro U.I Thing, you might wanna spend more time with it. not trying to be a fanboy but as much as the iphone/ios is easy to use, it lacks depth. with an iphone i need to get an app to get stuff done. in wp7 you’ll find most of the stuff you actually USE integrated into the Os(elegantly too) & i hope MS applies this approach in it’s windows 8.

  • JGodo

    “Although the new user interface is designed and optimized for touch, it works equally well with a mouse and keyboard” After try it, I can only said this is not true at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jimubao Jim Yang

    1. Yes to better performance and faster start up
    2. No to new UI, tried windows 7 phone before, too much useless animation. It may looks cool and entertaining at the beginning, but after a while… sick of the animation…
    3. No to UEFI Secure Boot, need dual boot for linux…..

    i personally think microsoft is going down hill, the main reason it is still in top of market is due to compatibility to lot softwares. i personally conside windows as a entertainment machine only, for gaming and movies etc… and most of works are done in linux or mac …

  • Sunday 8156

    this is the best os ever thanks bill you really know what you are doing i love it

  • obadiahorthodox

    After using W8 for a while, I got rid of the useless start screen, never used it. I always went to the desk top. Thank god there are third party applications out there that make W8 usable. Hopefully, W9 will be better.

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