After Microsoft’s BUILD conference last week, Microsoft 8 seems to be all the rave. Developers have stated that it is as good as Windows 7 in many ways, but that in comparison Windows 8 is highly ambitious.
From the boot, it is readily apparent that Windows 8 is inspired by Windows Mobile 7, using the same UI style which is called Metro.
Even though Windows 8 is optimized for touch screen devices, it works quite well in a non-touch environment, including desktop computers.
However, with the purchase of touch screen devices on the rise, Windows 8 is essentially meant to be an operating system that can run on tablets, desktops and Windows smartphones.
Many rumors have stated that due to the touch screen optimization capabilities, the much familiar Windows desktop appearance is gone.
This, however, is far from the truth. Even though the visual appearance from startup is much different, the familiar Windows 7 UI and desktop is still there.
For many, this brings forth a question: is the added Metro worthwhile or is it just getting in the way, especially for individuals who are unfamiliar with the look and feel of touch screen devices?
The Windows 8 Metro Experience
Metro, in many ways, is a complete departure from the classic Windows UI, as it is optimized for touch screens. In many ways, touch screen devices are huge targets, not just in regards to operating systems but also with applications. Yes, Windows 7 came with support for multi-touch screens but many users did not think much of it because most of the Windows applications were not conducive with a multi-touch experience.
The new Metro start screen is very attractive, showing all of the user’s applications in a collection of tiles such as Internet Explorer, recent documents, photos or frequently used games. Users could also create a tab for their email applications, to reveal their unread email count.
The word “could” is used, because not all applications support this functionality, but this might not be the case once Windows 8 is released a year from now. All in all, however, the new Metro start screen could be very convenient because you will be able to see your Twitter feeds, Facebook updates or breaking news all in one place.
With the Metro start screen there is another added convenient, where users can search their applications to find a list of installed applications. They can also use the search setting to filter through files and documents as well – which is much like the Windows 7 UI. Windows 8 also comes with Internet Explorer 10, which has a Metro interface.
This version does not allow plugins such as Flash or Silverlight because it is optimized for tablet devices, but it is functional on desktops or laptops.
One new feature that also makes Windows 8 stand out is the new control panel or “My Computer.” Users will be able to preview their running applications even while accessing the control panel. This makes it possible for users to conveniently switch between two applications.
Whether or not you benefit from the new Metro Windows 8 experience is entirely up to the individual user, but in many ways it will make accessing files and applications much more convenient – and fast – regardless of whether you are using a touch screen device or desktop computer.