Microsoft has finally unveiled Windows 8 at their build developer’s conference in California, and is set to unleash their latest operating system on the general public in 2012.
Microsoft might well find that Windows only has a future on development and business machines.
Can Microsoft Compete with iOS and Android?
Amid strong competition from Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, Microsoft were under serious pressure to come up with a really game-changing product that would both secure their grip on desktop computer users and allow the company to compete for inclusion on tablet and mobile devices. Can Windows 8 and Windows Metro for tablets break the mould?
Overcoming the Failures of Windows Mobile
The main reason Windows 7 mobile was selected by so few tablet & phone manufacturers was the fact that it simply wasn’t designed for touch-screen use. Much like previous Windows Mobile failures, there seemed to be an unwillingness to re-design the standard Windows interface in a way that would make it usable on a small screen, and previous versions were frustratingly difficult to use with a stylus – never mind a large-handed man’s fingers.
The second problem excluding Microsoft software from the majority of mobile devices was the fact that Windows was previously unable to run on the latest generations of low-power ARM chips.
Microsoft appears to have finally addressed these embarrassing issues with Windows 8 – and about time too considering their practically unlimited resources. The operating system will ship in two main flavours – traditional Windows desktop and touch-screen mobile device versions.
How to make Windows suitable for touchscreen devices was always pretty obvious, which is precisely why we’ve all been alarmed at Microsoft’s failure to achieve this in the past. All they had to do was design an OS interface with large, chunky buttons rather than Microsoft’s beloved fiddly expanding menus – and thankfully this is exactly what Windows 8 METRO (read mobile) appears to be all about.
Are Microsoft Just Chasing the Pack?
As well as revealing the OS interfaces themselves, Microsoft also announced another extremely unsurprising new offering – an online Windows App store. Breathtakingly original or what?
Speaking of Microsoft’s current lack of innovation, ack in July I wrote a post revealing an MS slip-up about what looked like a secret Microsoft social media project. In the post I speculated that the design looked like something intended for mobile devices, and that Windows 8 might look remarkably similar to Microsoft’s accidentally leaked screenshot of something called ‘Tulalip’. Well, I was pretty close; at least the tiles and colour palette from that screenshot seem to have found their way into the Windows 8 Metro interface. If and when Microsoft launch their social media platform, I’ll find out if my other predictions were on the right track.
With this long-awaited fix to their mobile device offerings, Microsoft are obviously hoping to carve themselves a niche in the ever growing tablet & smartphone market before ‘traditional’ laptops and PC’s aimed at mainstream consumers are consigned permanently to the history books.
We’ll have to see what products are developed with Windows 8 before we can say if they stand a chance against Android and iOS. And if Microsoft fail to get a share of the tablet market?