Windows 7, We Hardly Knew Thee
Yesterday, at some conference or another, Microsoft gave the first glimpse look at what the future looked like in the form of Windows 8…..and then the Internet exploded.
Exploded in the sense that everyone who was anyone in the technology field had an opinion on what it was, how it looked and what it would mean. Never one to miss an opportunity, what follows is my opinion, thoughts and feelings…..
The first photo I saw, I was unimpressed – a Windows Phone 7 title appearance, very different from the look and feel of Windows “Desktop” 7 that I’ve been using for the past two years. The UI (user interface), that everyone has raved about since the ‘failure’ of Windows Vista. Hell, even Mac users install Windows 7 onto their beloved, over priced laptops.
Annoyed and upset I was. But then, but then, I watched the accompanying video and was completely blown away. Microsoft have built a touch operating system that actually looks brand new, totally usable and amazing – almost like a Windows Phone on steroids. At this point, if you’ve seen the same video I have; “yeah, but Apple have already done a phone OS that they put on a tablet. Microsoft are doing the same thing and I’ll never give up traditional Windows in favour of an OS that will only work on tablets”.
And then the guy on the demo video launched Excel and it plonked him right onto a traditional “Windows 7” looking desktop, complete with Start button and toolbar, Explorer and all the things we associate with Microsoft operating system GUI’s. Then you think about it – the question then becomes “so they’ve built a shell or touch enabled layer over the top of Windows?”.
Yes! You’re right, that’s exactly what they’ve done. But they’ve created a layer that works as a stand-alone OS and then underneath that, you’ve still got all of the traditional, down and dirty, things that real computer geeks and technical people want -– Windows! Applications can still be installed and OS settings tinkered with and of that good stuff. Perfect.
Then when you’re done tinkering, you fire up the touch layer and bingo – you are back into touchey, flickey, prodding at the screen mode using your HTML5 enabled, online, cloud world which Microsoft have developed in the form of Zune, SkyDrive, LiveMesh, Messenger, Facebook and Twitter integrations and all of that good stuff people current pick up their phone for.
Its a master stroke from the ladies and gentlemen at Redmond.
Then there is the bit you can’t see – the OS runs on ARM processors, which means that the OS can be deployed on low powered devices, like tablets and phones as well as high powered PCs. Bringing the phone OS closer to the desktop OS and the desktop OS closer to the phone OS – which is where the whole industry is moving towards; a unified and connective devices that ‘talk’ to each other and to ‘the cloud’.
Making the whole touch OS layer though, I can already see where Microsoft are going; I’m already predicting that they will create ‘Kinect’ type devices that can either be built into devices or bought as add-ons, to gesture and yell commands at your PC just as you do with your XBox. It’ll be genius.
Add in Skype connectivity and a Media Center, your printers, network shares, VPN connectivity and all of the things Windows and Microsoft already offer and they are onto a winner in my opinion.
The only way they can lose, as far as I can see, is if they disable or lock advanced users out of the ‘traditional’, under-the-hood, real Windows experience.
Microsoft strikes back!