March 5, 2012

Windows 8 and Metro Show True Multiplatform OS Promise

Andy Ihnatko, writing for The Chicago Sun-Times:

“I’ve been using the developer preview edition of Windows 8 on a multitouch tablet for a few months, and now I’ve been using the new consumer preview for a little less than a day. My overall opinion is so high that it has to be stated right here in the first paragraph: Microsoft has really cracked something here. With the Metro user interface, they’ve created a simple and beautiful design language that’s relevant to a broad range of devices and to the ways that people use computers in the second decade of the 21st century.”

Microsoft's new Metro UI (user interface) has garnered nothing but praise since its first demo last year. Andy claims not only to be interested, but "tempted."

How exciting this is … MS will produce something later this year that is not only well-crafted, but original as well. Long criticized for solely producing derivative work (Excel after Lotus 1-2-3, Word after Wordperfect, Windows after OS/2, DOS after DR-DOS), the company is poised to unveil something truly new into the world: a novel touch UI.

As Andy goes on to say, though, MS shoehorns the Windows 7 desktop UI into the product, sans Start button. The old desktop metaphor is useful for legacy software (MS Office, the company's other cash cow), but it apparently doesn't sit well next to the new touch UI.

So it's up in the air as to whether Windows 8 on desktop and laptop machines, where both the old desktop and new Metro UI are available, will be a hit. But on ARM-based tablets devices, where the Metro UI is the only interface provided, Windows 8 appears to be a winner.

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