James Rosewell writes:
Microsoft’s Windows 8 announcement today is as significant to the mobile industry as Apple’s iPad launch 2 years ago. Windows 8 will work on tablets, ultra books, desktops, laptops and 82” big screens. Not only that but it’ll support touch on all these devices. “We're in a world where tablets are about touch, and PCs are about keyboard. We're changing those assumptions” Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows and Windows Live Division, says.
Mobile phone and consumer electronic businesses will increasingly be expected to become personal information solutions companies providing not just hardware for making telephone calls or sending emails but integrated technologies into a connected life. They’ll need to know about social networks, how to link and synchronise different devices and guide consumers through a bewildering array of hardware options for running Windows 8.
Those who already use Windows will miss the familiar start button and Ctrl + Alt + Del. The new Metro style seen in Windows Phone will dominate the UI with the edition of features such as “charms” which enable toolbars to appear around the screen based on the swipe of the finger, or mouse click. Windows can be closed with the flick of a finger. Deep rooted elements such as short cut keys remain. There are a lot of good ideas borrowed from Blackberry Playbook and WebOS.
Windows 8 devices will play well with social media and other devices. Many elements of the desktop can integrate with social networking applications, and multiple devices can share and synchronise data easily using Windows/Microsoft login live.
All the major hardware vendors provided devices for the live demonstrations suggesting their reasonably advanced in the manufacturing process. No release date was given, but based on past experience I’d expect a September launch to the public, with brave corporates getting an earlier release. We'll now more at CeBit when Microsoft are scheduled to provide an update.
ARM and X86 CPU architectures are supported with some applications running on both. ARM CPUs are considered more battery efficient. Windows 8 will place applications in the background into a paused state to help preserve battery life. Real devices during the demonstration started up from a cold boot in 8 seconds, pretty impressive compared to existing mobile devices and tablets. Such performance eliminates the need for "stand by" mode trickle draining the battery.
Windows 8 will run off a USB stick and store its data in the cloud which will be a major security feature for the Enterprise. Data will be stored remotely. I’m left wondering what the user experience will be like on slow network connections adding to the data headache for carriers.
Windows 8 is not going to be another Vista. Those with hardware reaching end of life will be looking to upgrade in the next 12 months. Many will opt for a tablet device which can be used like a netbook with a separate keyboard, which integrates really well with their Twitter, Facebook and mobile phone but most importantly is the Windows system running the critical applications they need.