review of "Windows 8"
thumbs up/thumbs down?
Here's an overview of what I found so far:
First of all, Windows 8 is awesome for tablets so it will be a HUGE contender to iOS and Android. I personally would really love the idea of having a tablet OS with a "Real" OS as backup in case you need it. I have 2 tablets at home(iOS and Honeycomb) and in some cases they just fall short. You can think of metro like a blend between iOS and Honeycomb. It's got some of the customization and advanced features of Honeycomb but it has the snappyness and polish of iOS. The developer framework is much more extensive than the competitors. They made some thoughtful decisions on how applications work these days. The file dialog is able to grab images from your picasa library for example and you can instantly tweet or blog this image to the web. This kind of stuff is all build into the API's of the OS.
For desktop users it's nothing more or less than Windows 7.5. It has optimizations and improvements here and there but it is basically the same. They did make some annoying modifications like REMOVING the start menu and sometimes the Metro interface is mixed with normal windows. This does not really work well but my guess is they will pick this this up from the feedback and fix it in the final release. Luckily I saw there is a registry option you can set to get it back so all things will be back to normal.
It's weird though how the normal windows are supported. It looks like it's an app inside the metro interface! Almost like it's an emulator, but it's not because it runs fast. My guess is they have this philosophy that tablet user will not need the old windows style so you can hide the app and it can save some resources by not having to load the old windows GUI.
As a professional user I hope you can avoid the whole metro interface as much as possible and if they achieve this I think it's cool you can still check out all the metro apps if you want to but it should be possible to just work with standard windows. Metro is completely unsuitable for any productive work. It just feels really weird and wrong with the mouse and keyboard. So, probably you won't be using metro on your desktop.
As a casual user would love to use metro for playing silly games, check the web, email, Facebook and stuff like that. It's a very nice idea that you'll always have windows in the back so you can fire up things like VLC or Office when you need them.
For me win 8 would be ideal because I can have a tablet for home use and then dock it if I need to do some more serious work. I have an Asus Transformer and if I connect the dock it feels wrong. The reason is the Honeycomb GUI. When you connect the mouse and keyboard it suddenly feels like a crappy OS. Android is not meant for desktop usage. I think it's really hard to make an OS that works in a tablet situation and a desktop situation. Maybe Microsoft did the right thing here and realized they could not make an GUI for both situations so they created an OS which is able to switch.
The only thing I think is they should change is to give a bit more love to the old Windows users. For professional users it's better to boot on the desktop, with start menu and have the metro gui accesible as an application and not the other way around. Microsoft really did an awesome job though because they essentially did the impossible here. They combined a hardcore OS with a casual touch OS and they work quite nicely together.
I think Microsoft is not stupid and they will make sure that as a Win7 user you do not have to make any concessions with Windows 8. They might be able to deliver the best experience for tablet users without (hopefully) making any concessions for professional users.
My only worry is that Win8 does not add any new things for Win7 users. A new copy dialog, task manager, some GUI tweaks and the ability to mount ISO's and that's about it I think. It IS optimized though so maybe that might be reason enough to upgrade. All the other things are easily obtainable trough 3rd party plug-ins. It also depends on what apps will become available. If there are some killer metro apps that might be reason enough to get Windows 8.
Oh, the app store is also friendly for Win32 apps so that's nice. We'll be able to get Lumion in there WITHOUT paying 30% "Apple tax". That's really good news for us.
I'd give it a thumbs up because the excellent tablet experience which does not impose any limitations on professional Windows users. It does require some tweaks but you can do that yourself and they have more than a year left before the final release.