Last week Microsoft released a pre-beta, developer preview version of Windows 8, their new combined desktop, laptop and tablet operating system. Since then the kalmstrom.com team has been testing it, and I want to share some of our first thoughts and impressions with you. I will surely have reason to come back to Windows 8 many times.
Windows 8 is like a new dish ‒ some will be impressed by it and some not. Users who expected just an update of Windows 7 will be very surprised, and in the beginning maybe also frustrated by everything new. I hope they will come over it soon, because overall this is an intriguing change. Or as one of the kalmstrom.com technicians expressed it: "If you don't like Windows 8, then you don't like tech."
What first strikes you when you open Windows 8 is the totally new interface. Microsoft has hidden the traditional windows and instead given us a tile interface like in their mobile phones. The Start bar, which has been there in all earlier Windows versions, is removed and replaced with icons of each installed application. This tile layout is called "Metro", and it is optimized for touch as well as mouse and keyboard.
The Metro interface is meant to make it easy to have several applications open at the same time, not only on a desktop but also in a smart phone. Swiping from the left switches to the next app, but you can also swipe and drag to put several apps on a screen side by side, in the size that you want them. If you need to have many applications open it might be difficult to find them with this system, as you cannot scroll down the Start bar as before. However, since you can move application tiles in the interface and place them where you want them, you can create groups that will make it easier to find applications.
We all like the Windows Explorer in version 8. It has a ribbon interface, like Office 2010, where most of the common tasks are at your fingertips. It also has a backstage view with many useful options.
Now the team is looking forward to testing Windows 8 further once new computers with really good touch-screens come on the market. Microsoft and their hardware partners have been lagging behind Apple for quite a while, but we don´t believe that trend is going to keep. It will be very interesting to see what Microsoft will do together with Nokia, Samsung, Acer, Intel, Dell, Sony and others.
The next 9-12 months should see some exciting development both on the mobile and the PC markets, and the kalmstrom.com team members are glad to be part of it!