This is a guest post written by Robert Kegel.
I’ve been using Windows 8 since the Developers Preview and its made some nice changes. Here are a few things I think Microsoft would have to add to help them become number 1 in tablets and phones.
I know unless Microsoft is already a step ahead of me and already putting them in some of these couldn’t be ready for when Windows 8 launches so I’d like to see them in future versions.
1) The return of the start menu on desktop versions of Windows.
This to me isn’t huge but I’ve seen videos where people have let their friends or family use Windows 8 and they get stuck in Windows desktop. Sure Microsoft could make a video tour of Windows 8 but how many people would not watch it?
A lot of people don’t want to watch videos on how to use a product, they try it and if they get frustrated they put it down. News is (if rumor is right) they may be doing this which is good, they’re listening to people.
2) I’d like to see an option to log-in to Windows desktop instead of Metro.
For me it wouldn’t be a big deal to click the desktop button, but I know for some it will be. It could be something simple.
If you’re on a computer that has a mouse and keyboard hooked up to it, when you’re at the log-in screen the there is an option (boot into Windows desktop or into Metro) you can click either one and it’ll remember your answer but keep the option there in case you change your mind.
3) Consistent scrolling
When you’re on the Metro desktop and want to scroll you just move the mouse icon to the right or left and as you drag the mouse the screen scrolls. This is an awesome thing and feel really good. The problem is it only works on the Metro desktop, it doesn’t work within apps.
I’d love to see this work in every app that you need to scroll (it would be nice if it worked on Windows desktop programs as well but that would probably be asking too much).
When I first went into the Market Place I moved my mouse to the right of the screen and to I was disappointed that the screen didn’t move.
4) Voice recognition.
Right now the Windows 8 Consumer Preview has voice recognition built-in, but its the same version that’s in Windows 7.
Windows Phone 7 has Tellme which is a good start but Microsoft needs to have something that will be as good (if not better) than Apples Siri. I do like that on my Windows Phone I can listen to and answer texts with my voice (which Siri can not do), but it could do more. I’d like Tellme to be my virtual personal assistant.
With Siri, if you tell it to make an appointment, when the timer goes off it will just chime to you telling you, you have a calendar event. On Windows 8 I’d like to see this a step further and have Tellme, tell me what the time, where, when and with whom the appointment is with.
I’d like to see this also work even if I don’t use my voice to make the appointment. If I decide to type it in my Google or Windows Live calendar it would still give me the option to have it say my appointment. I’d also like to be able to say “drive home” and it will open my GPS app of choice and if I have home as one of my favorites it will voice navigate me there.
If I want to listen to music I can tell my computer what band I want to listen to and if I have it in my library it will play it, if not I’ll take me to the store to buy it. I’d love to be able to use my Windows Phone to do this as well so if I’m in another room than my computer I can pick up my phone and give my computer simple commands. There is more but you get my drift.
Another thing with voice within the phone, right now in Windows to start voice recognition you either need to say “listen” or press a button. Some of us in computer name actually name our computer. I don’t see why we couldn’t just say the name of our computer and it will wake up ready to take a command.
One of the reasons I don’t use voice recognition to write is because it’s a pain to edit with your voice. I’d just like to be able to say edit and then edit what I’m writing with my keyboard, and when I’m done just say continue. Sure it may sound a little dumb to speak a document but to edit it with the keyboard,but voice editing is horrible and I don’t see it getting any easier.
5) I’d like to see Windows 8 with great Kinect integration.
Microsoft has said already that Kinect will work with Windows 8, but if it works like it does with the Xbox 360 its going to bomb. Using Kinect with Windows 8 should feel as close as it can to using a tablet. I’m going to guess Microsoft is going to have a smaller, slimmer Kinect made for the PC, one that you can hang on your monitor like a quick cam (I could be wrong though).
I’m also going to go out on a limb and guess that its going to be more powerful than the first generation Kinect (probably on par with the Kinect 2 that it’s rumored they’re working on).
The present Kinect tracks 20 joints and I’m going to guess the new Kinect will track more (more importantly individual fingers). Now this is all speculation, but I don’t think Microsoft thinks people are going to want to try to find a place to put the Kinect where it’s not in the way and where it can see them.
Also the Kinect needs distance and most of us when we’re using our computers we’re 3-4 feet away from our monitors and the Kinect needs 6-8 feet. If I’m wrong I don’t think many people will use Kinect with Windows 8.
Now as I said I’d like to see the Kinect with Windows 8 work very similar to a Windows 8 tablet.
Meaning it will track your index finger and you can with easy gestures (maybe by lifting your middle finger…with index finger still up) to do a tile press, or activate a link on a web page. I’d like to do a quick swipe with my hand to go to the next set of tiles on my Metro desktop. Using simple single-handed gestures (while sitting relaxed in your chair, and elbows on your arm rest.
Not having to flail your arms around like a mad person, just simple and easy.
6) If you use multiple Windows 8 devices (whether they be tablets, phones, or computer), I’d like to see tight integration between them.
It would be nice to be able to start writing something on one device and easily continue writing it on another. In a perfect world I’d have my desktop follow me where ever I go, no matter what computer, tablet and even phone I’m on.
Whether I’m at home, at work, or on a trip across the world I could login to my desktop (as long as there is quick enough internet access) and do what I need to do in full screen, no lag. I know Citrix does this, but it should be built into Windows 8 (or at least Windows 8 home server). To be able to login to your desktop from anywhere with good broadband would be a game changer.
The other good thing about this is if you get a virus Microsoft can make it so you can automatically make a backup image on another drive so you can wipe out the main image and install a brand new one right away. You can have your documents saved on a secure partition of the hard drive so it won’t get infected by virus’.
7) I’d like some UI changes
Paul Thurrott on his Supersite for Windows blog made some nice mockups of what he thinks Windows desktop should look like.
The only thing I’d change is the addition of Windows programs you’re running, maybe by putting a small icon of them near start or at the very bottom. this way if your messenger app gets a new message when you aren’t in Metro you can still see when you get a new message and click on it to bring you into Desktop mode and to that message so you can read it and answer.
Other than all that, I am excited about Windows 8 and can’t wait to see what Microsoft do.