20 Mar 2012

This October the wait is over for Windows 8 and to fully experience Microsoft's new Metro Start Screen in all its full glory, or torture, depending on what camp you fall in.  Microsoft has stated it will finish Windows 8 this summer and sales of Windows 8 will occur in October.

Initially they will roll out to devices with Intel (INTC) and ARM chips.  Microsoft is effectively using the same types of processors that Apple uses in the iPad, but there will be a limited number of ARM devices at debut, less than five, as opposed to Intel machines at 40.  Microsoft is still planning on shipping both ARM and Intel versions at the same time.

This October time frame will allow Microsoft to gear up for Holiday sales in 2012.  Filling everyone's Christmas wish lists, with Windows 8 touch-screen devices and laptops and desktops.  Microsoft hopes to revitalize the PC market with Windows 8 and gain some ground on the iPad.  

Microsoft is to host an event for its industry partners in early April, outlining their release strategy for Windows 8.

This new version of Windows is the first to use ARM and will only feature a desktop application with Office 15.  It is not backwards compatible unlike the desktop x86 and x64 versions.  Any new apps on ARM must be written for the Metro-interface.  Ultimately, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will set a new standard for Microsoft, putting a similar interface on all types of devices, which is a growing trend in the PC and portable world today. 

The new Start Screen and flipping back and forth between Metro apps and desktop experience apps has caused quite a stir.  Some are calling the new Start Screen revolutionary, while others are bashing Microsoft for giving Windows 8 the feel of Windows 95 running with DOS mode apps at the same time. 

I personally still hold that this is an important step in the right direction, towards a unique and different style of application interface, one that will take some time to adjust to though.  Hopefully Microsoft develops a brief tutorial on how to use the system, particularly with a mouse, so that new, uninitiated users won't find themselves asking, "How to I get back to that Application screen"?

Source:  Bloomberg

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