Dave Kinsey 0000-00-00 00:00:00
What’s new in Windows 8? Currently scheduled for release in October 2012, Microsoft’s upcoming release of its flagship operating system is strikingly different than its predecessors. Sporting a bold new touch-friendly interface, Windows 8 is designed to run as a tablet as well as a desktop and blur the line between the two. Yoga - An Example of Things to Come There are a number of manufacturers that are hard at work developing systems for Windows 8. The Lenovo Yoga (pictured) is an example of a “convertible laptop tablet.” It converts easily from a netbook with keyboard to a tablet and various positions in-between. We expect to see many such new and innovative devices running Windows 8. Traditional Windows Core, with a Radically New Look & Feel A tile-based interface called “Metro” is at the center of the Windows 8 experience. Metro is extremely natural on a tablet, but also works well on desktop systems. However, it’s SO different to what we’ve come to expect from a Windows PC, that it’s likely to be an unsettling experience, at least initially. While you still have the ability to get to a traditional-looking desktop through a click/tap of the appropriate tile, Metro’s intent is to largely operate outside of that environment. Performance Improvements Windows 7 is an extremely solid operating system and a huge improvement over its predecessor, Windows Vista. While the interface gets a major redesign, the core of Windows 8 simply builds on a solid Windows 7 foundation. Windows 8 has been designed to have even better performance than Windows 7, especially on tablet and netbook hardware. In particular, the boot up time for Windows 8 is typically less than a third of what Windows 7 requires on comparable hardware. Windows Explorer Ribbon & Synch Options The ribbon-style interface introduced in Office 2007 and refined in Office 2010 is now featured in Windows Explorer. This provides faster access and more customization to access the buttons you need. Windows 8 is also designed to allow you to easily synch certain information to Microsoft’s cloud. Windows App Store Following the trend made popular by smart phones and now web browsers, Windows 8 will have a collection of free and paid apps you can shop around for, and you can even try paid apps before purchasing them. Apps are rated by users and include everything from widgets for the new Metro-style desktop to business applications to games. Recommendations for your Firm The upcoming Windows 8 release should not significantly alter your technology plan at this time. Will Windows 8 pose a serious challenge to iPad and Android? Only time will tell. Microsoft is a little late to the tablet party, but it appears that Windows 8 will be an outstanding tablet operating system, with features beyond those of iPad and Android tablets. If you’re considering investments in tablets later this year, I would give Windows 8 some serious, but cautious consideration. Windows 8 may potentially be a serious player in the tablet/convertible laptop space very quickly. Given the radical interface change, I’d be more cautious about Windows 8 on the desktop until it’s proven in the marketplace. For now, stay the course on Windows 7. Any investments you make in Windows 7 systems should be good for the 3-5 year useful life you should expect of your equipment. If you are predominantly using Windows 7 on the desktop or well on your way to getting there, you’re in a good, well-supported place. If you are predominantly still on Windows XP, begin your Windows 7 migration in earnest to avoid problems. Microsoft’s extended support for XP ends in less than 2 years. I’ll keep you posted with Windows 8 and other technology updates in future articles. If you have any questions or would like any feedback regarding your plans, send me an email.
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