Windows 8 may be floundering in the shadow of the iPad 3, but the consumer test for the upcoming operating system has been met with mixed, yet mainly positive reaction.
Microsoft are offering a free download (classed as a preview) for the latest beta version of the operating system which you can get here. Windows 8 is a major part of Microsoft income over the next couple of years and they want to get it right. We already know that they have improved the boot up time, often in the region of 8 seconds and probably even less for the highest end systems.
One of the main focus points for Microsoft, is the mobile market. They have had a hard time competing against Apple and Google mobile devices, but Windows 8 will bring support for a range of processors, including ARM.
Windows 8 is a complete overhaul for the operating system, and the interface is sure to split opinion, especially with the enthusiast audience who have grown to love Windows 7. Unlike Windows 7 however, V8 is designed to work with touch sensitive screens.
Microsoft didn’t drop any bombshells at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain and they have intentionally kept the tech savvy audience aware of their changes since mid last year. Developers have had their hands on the operating system since September 2011.
The latest test version for consumers has many improvements over the earlier developer version as Microsoft have tweaked and tuned the code for the last 6 months. Microsoft say they have made over 100,000 changes since then for instance, and there are likely to be many more before the release date later this year.
Microsoft clearly still have some work to do, as they didn’t showcase Windows 8 running on an ARM device. This will be an important sector for them if they want to claim mobile market share as many low power devices use the British chip designs in their devices.
We spoke with insiders and they claim that discrete graphics cards will see up to 10% performance improvements between Windows 7 and Windows 8 which is sure to bring a smile to our audience.
The main problem for many however is the interface redesign which has removed the start menu, and now relies on tiles. This will suit a mobile audience, but we can imagine that Microsoft (or modifications from partners) may adjust this for the hardcore desktop audience.
Some leading journalists have already aired their views online. David Pogue from the New York Times said “beautiful, logical and simple. … Apple maintains that you still need two operating systems — related, but different — for touch devices and computers. Microsoft is asserting that, no, you can have one single operating system on every machine, always familiar. The company has a point: already, the lines between computers, tablets and phones are blurring. … With Windows 8, Microsoft plans to be ready for this Grand Unification Theory.”
Engadget weren’t quite so positive adding “Jumping back-and-forth between Metro [the tile-based design used in Windows 8] and desktop is hugely disorienting and, at least in the early days of Windows 8, you’ll be doing a lot of that. The simple task of switching between apps using the mouse has become painful. … Windows 8 still feels like two very different operating systems trying to be one.”
Kitguru says: You can be sure that the Windows 8 news will start heating up over the next couple of months.