Windows 8

(I wrote this on October 26th, when Windows 8 came out, and didn’t punch the right button to get it posted properly. Oops!)

Today was the unveiling of Windows 8 unto the world. SQUEEE!!! (That’s “geek” for “I’m very excited”.) I’ve been playing with it on my Dell 6220 all day today. The first thing I noticed was the blinding speed at which everything happens. (It helps that I have a solid state drive rather than a SATA hard drive.) The system boots up almost immediately and all my programs work so much faster than before.

Since I already have a Microsoft account, I was able to add my Netflix, Hulu, emails, games, and music services right onto it, just by clicking a tile and signing in. I set up my stock market ticker, played way too many games,  watched a movie (okay, just part of one), calculated pi, right clicked on everything just to see what it would do, and toured around the Windows store to see what’s there. So far, I’m digging it!

Windows 8 is the first operating system that really brings apps into the realm of business computing. The Windows 8 Pro has both the apps start screen and the desktop which lets you use all the programs you are currently running at your office, (even Office). The combination keeps your current work running while introducing more cloud services that businesses can use to create greater efficiencies in their processes.

The prevailing complaint I’ve heard is that Windows apps aren’t as extensive as either Apple or Android. I think that app development will happen quite quickly, however, with so many people adopting this new operating system. It can’t happen fast enough. The only other griping I’ve heard is from those technologists who are deeply invested in the current OS. They have to change the way they are used to finding and starting programs. Once they do, things are fairly the same.

With Windows 8, tablets and touchscreens will become much more prevalent. Desktops are becoming a smaller share of the market but laptops, now that they have greater storage capacities, are here to stay for awhile. Apps are great for doing a lot of things, but for business, you still need some programs on your machine to do certain types of work. A tablet just won’t cut it. While Apple, and to a lesser extent Google, has introduced consumers to apps, Windows 8 covers both programs and apps for the first time, for the majority of business users. It will be interesting to see how the competition will heat up among these platforms.

Smartphones are a completely different animal. Google’s Android, with its lower prices ($200 for an HTC EVO compared to $600 for an iPhone) is really dominating the market. It has a lot of apps and is easy to use. Windows phone, priced in the same range as the iPhone, is going to have a difficult time gaining ground until apps for it are a great deal more extensive. However, Microsoft is good at taking new technology and turning it into the prevailing platform on the majority of computing devices.

This horse race is on…