Yesterday Microsoft gave us a brief look at its next operating system, code named Windows 8. The operating system will be aimed at not only desktop and laptop PC systems but also the tablet market. Will Windows 8 deliver enough for a Windows Tablet to become a real competitor to the iPad and iOS?
The answer at this stage is very unclear; Microsoft has previously claimed that older versions of Windows would work well on Table PC’s as well as desktop and laptop systems. Unfortunately a distinct lack of Windows tablet sales tell a completely different story. Apple on the other hand stepped in and released the iPad with a cut down version of OSX designed for touch input, all of a sudden Tablet devices were vogue and everyone wanted one!
Looking at the features of Windows 8, it could be a very appealing OS for Tablets. It integrates the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI with the full blown power of Windows . Any app you run on your desktop or laptop could be executed on a handheld tablet. That is very appealing; there is no doubt about that. What is a doubt however is Microsoft’s ability to deliver the full experience and make these apps usable with touch.
When I talk about experience I mean how easy the device is to use. Yes Windows 8 will be a great experience with a mouse and keyboard, I don’t doubt that. What I do have serious concerns over is how well that will work using your fingers. How will developers address the issue of not only writing their apps for a mouse and keyboard entry system but also for touch too? If they fail to do it, using a Windows Tablet will again be a frustrating experience.
Microsoft has a lot of work to do to bring all of this together. They need to consider every possibility with every app and interface. It needs to be standardized so users know where they are and how to get where they need to be without much thought. I really hope Microsoft can pull this off, they need to learn from previous mistakes and deliver a tightly integrated touch OS. Unfortunately history tells us they will fall way short of this goal.
If you want to see a short video of Windows 8, there is a demonstration video below from This Is My Next. Do you think Microsoft and its partners have what it takes to challenge Apple's dominance in the tablet space?