The latest version of the Windows operating system introduces a two-interface system that attempts to cater to the desktop and the tablet user at the same time. All new PCs will come with the new operating system and most will feature a touch-enabled screen. With so much riding on the Windows 8 style change, one has to wonder, who is Microsoft’s target demographic in this latest release?
Thursday, October 25th, Microsoft officially released Windows 8. The colourful new successor to Windows 7 includes two view modes, and the default mode is not what you would expect. Instead of the traditional desktop with start menu, Microsoft has opted for a default tile-based, touch-friendly interface, from which you can launch “light” applications or bring up the desktop. Gone too is the start menu. Instead replaced with “sensitive edges” and their corresponding menus. Already, some users are frustrated.
To Microsoft’s credit, their efforts in building Windows 8 are commendable. They reached out to many hardware partners who, on launch date, had already announced a line of touch-enabled, laptop-tablet hybrids and compatible peripherals. Some new devices run the full Windows 8 experience, while others run a tile-view version of the operating system called Windows RT. Microsoft even went so far as to build their own tablet hardware.
With this new operating system, Microsoft is also bundling Office “Lite” and free cloud storage. There will be a nice offering of other features out of the box and an app store to satisfy many customer’s needs. As adoption increases, and it will given Microsoft’s dominance in the computer market, the number of features and applications will grow. Though, for most of us PC users, this new operating system just doesn’t fit well.
To the traditional PC user, Mac OSX may look more like the Windows they are used to, more so than Windows 8. To those consumers interested in a tablet, Apple’s line of iPads, or the Android devices from Amazon and Google, may feel like the tried and tested choice. And let’s not forget the majority of the public and the corporate users who are happily entrenched with Windows 7 or XP.
The new Windows operating system is for that sliver segment of user who need something between a tablet and an ultrabook (a slender, lightweight laptop). A device that handles both the simplicity of a touch interface in a tablet package and the capabilities of a full laptop experience. Has Microsoft found a growing market segment? Our attention will be on them in the coming months.