In a new blog post from the Windows 8 development blog, Steven Sinofsky explains in a little more detail that the traditional Windows desktop will not be going away.
Microsoft is instead giving users a dual choice.
We believe there is room for a more elegant, perhaps a more nuanced, approach. You get a beautiful, fast and fluid, Metro style interface and a huge variety of new apps to use. These applications have new attributes (a platform) that go well beyond the graphical styling (much to come on this at Build).
As we showed, you get an amazing touch experience, and also one that works with mouse, trackpad, and keyboard. And if you want to stay permanently immersed in that Metro world, you will never see the desktop—we won’t even load it (literally the code will not be loaded) unless you explicitly choose to go there! This is Windows reimagined.
But if you do see value in the desktop experience—in precise control, in powerful windowing and file management, in compatibility with hundreds of thousands of existing programs and devices, in support of your business software, those capabilities are right at your fingertips as well.
You don’t need to change to a different device if you want to edit photos or movies professionally, create documents for your job or school, manage a large corpus of media or data, or get done the infinite number of things people do with a PC today. And if you don’t want to do any of those “PC” things, then you don’t have to and you’re not paying for them in memory, battery life, or hardware requirements. If you do want or need this functionality, then you can switch to it with ease and fluidity because Windows is right there. Essentially, you can think of the Windows desktop as just another app.
So we have a little more detail about the user interface plan for Windows 8.
There will be two user interfaces:
- Metro – for touch devices
- Traditional – that looks similar to Windows 7
You will be able to switch between the two user interfaces.
When you are in one interface, the other interface will not be loaded. When you need to switch, the new UI will be loaded and the old will be “deactivated”.
The switch is meant to be smooth as silk and is meant to be efficient from a power perspective.
Here’s an interesting line from the blog post.
How can installing (and removing) apps be as quick and painless as changing the channel on the TV? How do you attract the broadest set of developers possible to a new platform? How do you build a touch-first interface with a unique point of view?
I am looking forward to seeing how fluid Microsoft will make the loading and removing of apps.
We’ll learn more from the BUILD conference.
(Has there ever been a more hyped conference in tech history?).