While I’ve personally become accustomed to the new Start UI as a replacement for the traditional Start Menu, it seems that a large number of Windows 8 users are unwilling to let go and move on.
Stardock has now announced that it has had 3 million downloads since the commercial launch of its Start8, which sets users back $4.99 and offers a “full featured” start menu experience.
Alongside the Start8 download announcement, Stardock also announced that their first major update to the program has now arrived. Version 1.1 features include adding drag and drop support, ability to rearrange items inside the all programs tree and more.
Interestingly enough, SweetLabs also announced that its free Windows 8 start menu replacement, Pokki, has hit 1.5 million downloads and took the time to show off a major new version.
Alright so 4.5 million might not seem like TONS when you consider that Microsoft has sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses, but let’s think this through.
First, Pokki and Start8 together achieved 4.5 million downloads, but there are MANY more free and even commercial start replacements out there, so the number is likely much higher than that.
Second, Microsoft might have SOLD 60 million licenses, but we know that many of these licenses are to OEMs and aren’t in the hands of consumers just yet.
Finally, there is also a reasonable number of Windows 8 devices out there that DO have touchscreens, because they are either touch ultrabooks, convertibles, hybrids or tablets. A start menu replacement doesn’t make as much sense in these environments.
So what does this all mean?
Honestly, I like Windows 8’s new UI, but it is obvious that there are a number of folks that aren’t willing to give it a try. I could be wrong, but I have a strong feeling that many of these “start menu downloaders” never even spent more than a few minutes with the Start UI before deciding to bring back the old start menu through a 3rd party app.
Seems kind of silly in a way, because many of these apps are resource hogs and kind of detracts from the improved speed found with Windows 8.
So is this announcement doom and gloom? Not necessarily. As apps continue to arrive and people start to want these apps even on their desktops, they might change their minds and give the Start UI a try again (or really give it their first real try).
Its WAY too early to say that the new Start UI is a total failure, at this point it is simply ‘misunderstood’ I suppose. Do you use a Windows Start Menu replacement? If so, which one and why? For those desktop/laptop users that have stuck with the Start UI can you even imagine going back to the start menu now?