In this month’s edition, we will discuss the forthcoming Windows 8 operating system, due for release later in the year. As with most new product releases, Microsoft allow the broader community the ability and chance to test-drive their products as part of the consumer preview. After having run Windows 8 on a couple of the laptops, we can say that we are impressed.
So what will be the main differences between Windows 8 and Windows 7? Well most importantly, the Start button and menu has disappeared. Microsoft have decided to make Windows 8 the next generation operating system for touch screen, tablet, notebook, mobile and PC devices, which means you will get a consistent user experience across all your devices. The Start menu has been replaced by a tile-based system that works with those of you using a mouse, a touch screen or a multi-touch surface (like a tablet). Although the change will take a bit of getting used to and some of you may not like it initially, we have actually found that the new tile based system is more intuitive and we think its ok.
Also new is the introduction of an apps store and Windows Live profile that synchronises across devices. So when you login to your laptop, you are presented with the start menu which contains all your local windows PC apps like office and so on. The difference now, is that you can download or purchase apps from within the start menu and these applications will immediately synchronise to your other devices. We have found this feature to be seamless when installing the sample applications and having these available on our mobile devices shortly thereafter.
The traditional desktop is there, but it appears to be a sign of the times as Microsoft start to move us away from that type of interface. Another cool feature will be gesture control. Gesture based hand movements will also be supported in Windows 8, so those that have a monitor on their desk that is too far away from touch can still continue to use their mouse or add-on a gesture based control panel. It seems that the technology we saw in the movie Minority Report is actually starting to make its way in to mainstream products now and this will only change the way we interact with computers and devices.
What does this mean for corporate users? We hope that these changes will improve productivity but more importantly, we think it will challenge the way you use mobility devices for access to corporate resources. For example, having your documents available to you no matter where you go regardless of the device, Windows 8 will keep you connected to corporate resources no matter what. The benefits of application mobility will be a key turning point in ensuring that your line of business applications run on your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone and enable better productivity gains.
If you would like a demo of Windows 8, then give us a call and we will be more than happy to show you the new features of Windows 8 before its release scheduled for July this year.