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Windows 8 Unveiled: Good and Bad. [UPDATED: Video!]

Posted by on June 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Today, Windows president Steven Sinofsky demoed the newest version of Microsoft’s juggernaut operating system. It started out as very exciting, and then they showed the rest of it…

The Good:

– Microsoft showed off Windows 8’s new tablet-side interface. Like a super version of Windows Phone, the Metro UI really takes advantage of the real estate. All your favorite apps and information can be pinned to the Start screen, making the experience very glanceable and user-friendly. Bright and beautiful colors throughout, very thorough and realized touch interface. While we didn’t think Metro UI was perfect on Windows Phone, I think it’ll definitely be an improvement here

– “Hundreds of millions of PCs can run Windows 8”, meaning that there isn’t going to be much of a system requirement leap from Windows 7. If you’re running 7 on a machine that came with it pre-installed, you should have absolutely no problem running 8.

– It looks like apps are going to be super easy to add and remove. No more Add/Remove Programs + Uninstall program?

The Bad:

– All that legacy Windows underneath. To seemingly everyone’s disappointment, the tablet-side interface of Windows 8 looks like little more than a really good skin, like Windows Media Center has been in the past. Sinofsky says, “[The tablet side is] not a layer, it’s Windows. It runs across hundreds of millions of PCs, and works across a vast variety of machines. It’s much more seamless than a layer, it’s not two shelves,” but we have our doubts. Enter certain apps, like Office, and all that tablet-y goodness disappears and you’re back at the standard Windows you’ve known for years. Bear in mind: you’re getting a full version of Windows here. Unfortunately, it seems as though there’s going to be some jank-tastic moments as you switch between the gorgeous Metro UI and the OS’s legacy GDI/Aero-style UI that hasn’t seen much alteration since its introduction in 1995. What a bummer. (Sinofsky says that in order to avoid looking at the ‘old house’, you’ll simply have to avoid using legacy apps.) In fact…

UPDATE: A new Microsoft-delivered video shows the transition between Metro and Aero looks pretty seamless. Unlike Windows Media Center that loaded as a separate application, all of this is handled from the 3D projections that we see in Metro. Take a look below:

– Even with a thoroughly-realized tablet mode, boot times look like they’re still going to be a struggle. A big advantage of getting a tablet with a thin(ner) client is the fact that you can boot it relatively quickly. Turn it on, wait a few seconds, start using it. iOS, Windows Phone, Android, and Chrome OS all boot pretty fast. Are we really going to have to sit and watch as the entirety of Windows loads just to access our colorful tiles? Sinofsky says we’ll have to wait until September to find out.

Source: This is my next…, Engadget

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  • Imperialcruzer

    So do I get that stupid start screen on my laptop if I upgrade to windows 8? Do I get the apps?

    • Anonymous

      I imagine you’ll have a choice. Most people would probably like the Metro interface, even with a mouse.

  • Hm

    Well it’s got some nice looking features, but it seems a bit unfocused and messy to me. The switching between Metro and older style apps does not look good either. I’m sure they’re trying very hard, but so far it just looks like a clever ‘skin’ over the top of regular Windows. I have a feeling Apple’s offering next week will show a much more integrated and complimenting system between desktop OS and iOs.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like you all are just looking for reason to be down on it. From the demo, this looks like exactly what tablets need… an OS that can take on the full functionality we have with laptops! In fact, the only thing I don’t like is what you all applauded… the tiles interface is pretty ugly IMO.

    • Anonymous

      A tablet with the functionality of a desktop is what’s doomed Microsoft since they touted the form factor a decade ago. Bill Gates was HUGE on tablets and they even released a few 7 or 8″ models with XP on them. The problem is that people want a simplified OS to go with their tablet, something thumb-ready, not something that needs to be handled with a stylus for the finest details, hence the iPad’s success.

      • Anonymous

        Isnt that waht Windows 8 provides? The Metro UI in Win 8 looks to be very “thumb-ready, smooth and beautiful.

        • Anonymous

          It also took them a decade to do it. That’s why Apple stomped them even though they had hardware out at the turn of the century.

  • Johnny

    Personally, I dig the tile interface, but I use an HD7 Windows Phone 7 and I’ve gotten used to the concept. I like what they’ve shown of Windows 8, I just hope there isn’t a tremendous wait between the launch of the OS and the updates with all the coveted funcationality, like they’ve done with the Windows Phone so far.

    • Anonymous

      Well, they don’t have to fight with the carriers when it comes to updates. Speaking of which, I wonder if 3G support will be baked right into the OS this time.

      • Anonymous

        Windows has never gone through a carrier to be updated…thats a different system all together.

        • Anonymous

          Windows has also never been this portable.

  • Anonymous

    Boot times is not a struggle now, and it will basically a delight on an ARM chip device. Also, while you say “seamingly everyone’s dissapointment”, their would have been WAY MORE dissapointed if they couldnt get at all the programs they know and love today, and use them in the same way they’re familiar with.

  • Noodthenoob

    I am quite upset… this feels like they are trying to get rid of mousenood and keyboard. I also do not like the start screen; even though it is quite snazzy and cool looking it also looks wany too far integrated for tablets and touch monitor’s. I have the feeling that I am going to have to learn to love linux soon :D