What I’m looking for in the Windows 8 Beta

As we race right into 2012, I’m starting to get excited about the prospect of testing the Windows 8 Beta.

I’m looking for very specific things in this latest release of Microsoft’s new Operating system.

First, I got myself an ExoPC tablet from the Microsoft store which arrived and looks pretty sweet.

I’m not even going to bother putting the Windows 8 Development Preview on it, I’ll just wait for the Windows 8 Beta.

Once I install Windows 8 on the tablet, I’ll go over the checklist of Windows 8 features.

I’ll do a detailed review of all the features of Windows 8 on this blog and of course I will use those features as my criteria but at the end of the day, there is one metric that will tell me what the future of this Operating System (on tablets) will be.

The 2 year old test

You see I have a 2 year old son.

He loves my Ipad ( he calls it the “pah”). It’s sweet. He grabs the Ipad, swipes it open, swipes to his favorite application (Elmo), taps once to run it and taps away at the different letters of the alphabet.

Then, once he gets bored of that, he clicks on the one Ipad button to go to the home screen, swipes to go to another page and then clicks once on his other fave app – Toy Story 2.

Then, sometimes in the middle of that, he’ll double click on the button (just like he’s seen dad do) and switch between open apps to get to what he wants.

How sweet.

HE’s 2 YEARS OLD!

Sorry Microsoft but that to me is the real test. The user interface on the Ipad is so simple a  2 year old can use it and in fact he started using the Ipad at 14 months. I blogged about that here.

Ultimately, Windows 8 has to be easy to use. It has to be stupid simple.

No charms that are hidden, no funny “swipe up left and then right” combos. This is not Mortal Kombat.

It has to be easy enough for grandmothers to use. For babies to want to use. That will be the real predictor for success. When families see that their children are interested in Iphones, they buy them Ipods so they can play their own apps etc.

Believe me I am thinking of getting my kid an Ipod so i can get my Ipad2 back.

If Windows 8 is not smooth and seamless and intuitive, then it’s game over. You can’t beat something with nothing – it just doesn’t work.

The other thing that Microsoft must know about this is that it’s all or nothing. There will not be a service pack to fix the major UI issues if they come up. It will either work or it won’t and I suspect that within 3 months of using the Beta, we will all render a verdict.

I am reminded that my friend Marc said to me that Android was not innovative because in so many ways, it’s a bad copy of the Apple UI. Microsoft get tremendous credit for doing something that is if nothing else original.

I look forward to seeing if that’s enough to make a difference.

What will you be looking for in Windows 8 Beta?

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