Editorial- Windows Reimagined

image00 Steven Sinofsky (President, Windows and Windows Live division, Microsoft), says “We’re gonna reimagine Windows. From the chipset, to the experience, Windows 8 reimagines what Windows can be.”


It all starts with the word “Metro”. A design language by Microsoft that puts YOU at the centre and works the way you want it. It’s your life – digitized. Your people, your content; everything is about YOU. Metro makes things work just the way they should. If you’ve used a Windows Phone 7 device, you know what I’m talking about. Metro is about bringing the stuff you care about closer to you; it’s about getting the technology out of your way just so that you can enjoy your digital life.

image01

What do you think of a computer? What first thought do you get when you hear about using a computer? It’s probably sitting on a chair in front of a monitor typing with a keyboard and using a mouse. It’s been like that for ages! Sure there are laptops, but they are pretty much the same. Sure there are Windows slates but they’re not that good at what they do. Sure there are iPads and Android tabs but they are essentially just oversized smartphones. They just can’t do what a desktop OS can do like full video editing, smooth full featured web experiences etc. You get the point.

When Windows 7 was designed, the shifts that were happening then were around high performance notebooks. People wanted thinner and lighter notebooks; notebooks that would resume from sleep immediately, with batteries that last longer and mobility features like that and Windows 7 did successfully fulfill all those needs and wants.

· About 450 million copies of Windows 7 have been sold!

· Windows 7 consumer usage greater than Windows XP.

· 1502 seamless non-security product changes delivered

· Internet Explorer 9 is the fastest growing Windows 7 browser

· 542 million people signing into Windows Live services.

These are very successful statistics.

Changing World of Computing

But, the shifts that are happening now have changed. Today there are trends around immersive internet computing, ultraportable devices that have touchscreens. Windows 8 is the reimagining of Windows for trends we’re seeing today. The web is driving a lot of this. The web is affecting the way we work, the way we play, the way we connect with other people and it’s only getting more immersive, more personal and more significant in our lives.

· Form factors and user interaction models create new scenarios and opportunities

· Mobility means devices you use while carrying, not just devices you carry then use

· App developers want rich connectivity and sharing capabilities, connection to customers

· Services are intrinsic in all software

Windows 8 – How does it look?

Windows 8 features a Windows Phone 7 like lockscreen which is very personal. It has a beautiful background of your picture. It shows you the time, date, your next appointment and your notifications.

image02

Windows 8 features the “Start Screen” inspired by Windows Phone 7. The Start Screen is your personal mosaic of tiles; the apps on your system are represented by Tiles. Tiles are better than icons for a couple of reasons – they have a lot more space for the apps to show it’s personality and information. For example, you can see stuff like Weather status, stock status, status updates, notifications, news headlines etc. without having to open any app. The information is surfaced to you. That’s the start screen.

image03

 

Windows 8 experience

· Fast and fluid user experience – Responsive, alive and beautiful with animations and Metro style

· Immersive and full-screen – Focuses attention on your apps

· Touch-first with full keyboard and mouse – Enables choice of interaction

· Web of apps working together – Apps are connected to each other and the cloud

· Experience for all PC devices and architectures – No compromise across new form factors, desktops and laptops

What about the apps? Windows 8 features a new app platform based on standard web technologies like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. These languages form the backbone of the web. So, on day 1 when Windows 8 ships, hundreds of thousands of developers will already know how to build great apps for Windows 8. HTML5 is doing a freaking good job at building interactive and immersive web apps. Apps using this technology would be pretty rich and engaging for the end users. These apps are called “Metro Apps” (Of course) and these apps will be available through the Windows App Store, a one stop shop for your Windows 8 app demands. The revenue will be the 70/30 split for the developers/Microsoft apparently. Though, it’s not confirmed yet.

The great thing about Windows 8 is – these apps aren’t silos. These apps can talk to other apps. For example, you can tweet a photo stored in your friend’s Facebook album without saving anything to the desktop or someplace in the sky. You can imagine being able to search for anything on the web, twitter, music, games, apps through a single vie. That’s a pretty slick feature that nobody has done before and developers and consumers alike are going to appreciate a lot.

image04

Features

Windows 8 is entirely gesture based; although you can use buttons too. To go to the start screen using a tablet, you swipe from the right. That’s the place for you to tinker around with the setting and to access more options. Windows 8 features real multitasking. You swipe from the left to switch between apps. Windows 8 also includes a great feature – Snap. The ability to dock two apps side by side which none other touch operating system supports.

IE10 is the best hardware accelerated browser out there. You can run hardware accelerated flash, ActiveX, do in private browsing and experience HTML5 content and other stuff that most other touch operating systems don’t support.

image05

Another really important factor is speed. Windows 8’s UI is blazing fast. That’s because it is hardware accelerated. All the transitions, graphics, animations, effects and even the Metro style apps everything is hardware accelerated to the core which means the power of your GPU is used to make everything slick and smooth.

Microsoft has also redesigned the Windows Explorer with the Ribbon interface familiar to Office 2007 and Office 2010 users.

image06

Windows 8 also features an improved task manager and a better multiple monitor support.

image07

image08

Windows 8 will also include Xbox LIVE functionality.

image09

Windows 8 includes support for all the latest and greatest technologies like TPM, UEFI, Compass, Gyro, Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Near Field Communication, Ambient Light, LCD TSP, SSD, WLAN, GPS, Cameras, Touch, Ink, 3G/4G.

image10

Also, buzz is that Windows 8 will include Phone capabilities. That would be a real nice addition I guess.

image11

Windows 8 PCs with UEFI and SSDs will be able to boot in just about 8 seconds!

Windows 8 fast boot up –

 

Windows 8 will also have Microsoft SmartScreen technology and Microsoft Security Essentials built right into the OS. A Metro version of Microsoft Office is in the works according to some rumors.

At the BUILD Conference, about 5000 Developers were given a Samsung Windows 8 developer slate.

tablet8

This isn’t all. Microsoft says there are hundreds other features that aren’t shown yet. I think we’ll know about them till Windows 8 reaches Beta.

image13

Check out Windows 8 in action:

Will Windows 8 be able to take on the iPad? Decide for yourself!

image14