There you have it, Microsoft’s new logo for Windows 8. It’s a dramatic departure from the logos of the past, where color and flashiness took an increasing role, and it looked less like a window and more like a flag. But why so minimalist? It accurately portrays Windows’ future.
Tag Archives | Microsoft. Windows
Since I first saw and used Windows 8 last year, I’ve been wondering if Microsoft might end up tweaking it a bit to make it less of a shock to the system of all those Windows users out there–a sizable percentage of whom haven’t even given up Windows XP yet. But nope: According to Tom Warren of the Verge, the company has decided to do away with Windows’ most famous feature, its Start button.
Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog has another one of its long, geeky, interesting insider posts. This one’s about how the company is building much more ambitious support for mobile broadband right into the operating system–including a phone-like Airplane Mode.
Microsoft has spilled the beans–lots and lots of them–on the Windows Store app market that will be in Windows 8. Presumably, it would never exist in this form if Apple had never introduced the iPhone App Store. But it does look good, with a slick interface and developer-friendly terms that offer more flexibility and a higher revenue share for programs once they hit $25,000 in sales.
The one thing that bugs me about the Windows Store is that it’s going to be the only way for developers to distribute Windows 8 apps with the new Metro interface to consumers. (Businesses can circumvent it for programs they provide to their own employees.) Am I being inconsistent, considering that I live reasonably happily with Apple’s identical restriction on iOS apps? Maybe. But maybe I’m just grappling with the fact that Microsoft is eliminating a PC feature that’s existed for decades: The liberty to install any program we choose. I’ll reserve further judgement until Windows 8 has shipped and the Windows Store is open–and hope that it, like Apple’s App Store, ultimately feels bountiful rather than limited.
As ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley reports, IDC thinks that Windows 8 will be “largely irrelevant” to users of conventional PCs, at least in 2012. The company is probably talking about corporate users more than consumers, but it does raise an interesting question which nobody can answer yet: Are real people going to be excited by the prospect of using the simplified Metro interface with a keyboard and a mouse?
Research firm Forrester has conducted a survey that supposedly reveals that consumer interest in Windows-based tablets–once quite high–is now tanking. Forrester is concluding that Microsoft has therefore missed the opportunity to compete strongly with the iPad, since the first serious Windows-based tablets won”t show up until sometime next year when Windows 8 ships.
If I were a Microsoft honcho, these results wouldn’t worry me much, for several reasons…
Why do people choose not to upgrade to the newest version of Windows? In plenty of cases, it’s because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of the upgrade process. In a new blog post, Microsoft has outlined its plans for how upgrades to Windows 8 will work. They’re ambitious, involving a Web-based system that checks a PC and its apps for Windows 8 compatibility and can either install the new OS on the fly or create a DVD or thumb drive-based install.
It’s not going to lure everyone who’s reluctant to upgrade–for one thing, you’ll only be able to perform a full upgrade, with existing apps remaining in place, on Windows 7 machines. But if it works as planned, it sounds nifty, and should be a good starting point for versions of Windows beyond 8.
At the Windows World conference in 1991, an alarmingly youthful Bill Gates recaps the history of DOS and Windows to date and previews Windows 3.1:
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As a holdover until Microsoft ships the tablet-friendly Windows 8, I like the idea of a Windows 7 tablet that also runs Android. Sure, Windows 7 doesn’t play nicely with touch screens, but it’s a great operating system for getting work done, and when you’re finished, you can switch to Android for leisure.
That’s what ViewSonic tries to accomplish with its ViewPad 10pro tablet. The 10-inch slab runs Windows 7, and also includes an Android emulator on the desktop, letting you run proper tablet apps without restarting the machine. (A previous ViewSonic tablet, the ViewPad 10, dual-booted Windows and Android, requiring a restart to switch between them.)
It’s a neat idea in theory. But in practice, the ViewSonic 10pro only proves that some ideas are better left unrealized.
As the world celebrates–or at least acknowledges–the tenth anniversary of Windows XP, I wondered why so many people continue to use an operating system that dates from an utterly different era in the history of personal technology. So I conducted a quick survey to ask XP users…well, to ask them why they’re XP users, and whether they intend to continue on with the OS forever. Bottom line: A plurality of them use it because it’s what their employers provide. But most of them seem to be reasonably okay with that.
(Standard disclaimer: This was an informal survey, and the results reflect only the experiences and opinions of the people–almost 900 of them–who happened to take it. I’m not claiming their responses map to the world at large.)