Microsoft has released to the public a preview version of its new Windows 8 operation system. Billed as the company’s most substantial redesign since 1995, Windows 8 incorporates elements of the Windows Phone into a tablet and desktop setting. Specifically, it largely does away with the standard PC interface in favor of an interactive application web. These applications are displayed as tiles rather than icons and can be customized to, say, show your music, calendar, local weather, investments, and photographs all in one condensed segment – an approach that has been labeled a “Metro” software style.
Old-school users, however, also have the option to revert to a more traditional desktop format and run programs on this format that are compatible only with older Windows products. In doing so, Microsoft hopes to preserve the loyalty of its most long-time users, many of whom have been running DOS and creating atca system platforms on PC devices from all generations.
The new operating system can be used with phones, laptops, tablets, and PCs, and it will automatically use cloud computing to synch profiles between all these devices. But analysts believe that the system is largely targeted – and will find its greatest success – on the tablet platform. After all, the Microsoft Phone already boasts a similar interface and the Windows 7 operating system is popular enough that few users will see the need to upgrade. Some commentators have further questioned whether consumers are ready for such a large-scale overhaul of PC desktops in the first place.
But as a tablet experience, Windows 8 appears ready to deliver a comprehensive and interactive experience. It offers numerous apps, pan and zoom functions, quick and easy access, and plenty of touchscreen capabilities. Whether it can help Microsoft catch up with Apple and Google in the tablet world still remains to be seen.