With all the success the iPad has been having, you can only imagine what Microsoft is thinking as they have been trying to push tablets for the better part of a decade with to no avail. Well that's all about to change.
Later this year Microsoft will be releasing its highly anticipated, touch friendly operating system, Windows 8. Windows 8 is not just an incremental change, its a complete overhaul of the entire OS. In windows 7 you were faced with Window's traditional start menu in the bottom left, system tray and clock in the bottom right, and grid of icons on the desktop. Windows 8 takes those standard Windows features and flips them on their head. Here is a list of 5 awesome features of Windows 8.
Touch it or Click it
The new interface dubbed by Microsoft as 'Metro' is beautiful on the eyes and elegant on the hands. A touch or a swipe is all you need to interact with the interface and access apps, email, or the internet. But for all of you who still like to be pointing and clicking, Windows 8 also works with a mouse. Not only can you use a mouse or touch, you can use both at the same time. Say you were browsing threw photos and wanted to zoom in on a photo. Instead of searching for the magnifying glass and clicking a few times to zoom in on a particular item, you can just drop the mouse (I know, its scary) and pinch to zoom directly on the screen, saving valuable seconds and making the experience a very engaging one for the user.
Although i just made up the word, (tablaptop) that is exactly what the Windows 8 Tablets are going to be. They will be great media consumption devices like tablets are now, but they will also be full featured PC's. You will be able to watch your favorite YouTube videos and play Angry Birds as well as write your term papers and manage spreadsheets in Excel. Also, some of the Tablets will actually look like laptops, with a keyboard and touchpad for a mouse, and others will look like a normal tablet but will allow you to connect a bluetooth keyboard and a mouse to it.
Metro is Microsoft's newest, sexiest interface, and its getting rave reviews. Pretty much everybody who uses Metro likes Metro, and I believe that when consumers compare Metro to iOS, most will prefer the look, feel, and usability of Metro compared to iOS.
Here is something that Apple has yet to figure out and Microsoft and Windows 8 does beautifully. Not only, in Windows 8, can a user switch between open apps seamlessly, but they can also have two apps opened on one screen side-by-side. This will allow users to be reading off of one side of the screen and type into Word on another. A plagiarizers dream!
Beam me up, Scotty
Welcome aboard the Star Ship Enterprise. Just Kidding. Microsoft is reportedly working on something they are calling "beaming". Beaming will allow Windows 8 devices to send data and files from one device to the other over whatever connection is available whether that be Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or NFC (Near Field Communication). It's definitely a wow factor when you see it done and will most likely make consumers reach for their wallets a lot faster.
Microsoft has had many hardware partners in the past, some showed a little pizazz with their hardware but most Windows hardware was dressed in drab tan or gray cases. But with Windows 8 Microsoft has different plans. Nokia, who is mainly known for their handheld hardware, signed an exclusive contract with Microsoft to create high end hardware for their Metro OS. If you have seen any of the Lumia hardware line from Nokia, you could only imagine what is to come for their tablets.
Windows 8 is really shaping up to be a beautiful OS. Microsoft is looking to start shipping devices with Windows 8 on them by October. Do you think Windows 8 will catch on and surpass the iPad? Leave your thoughts in the comments area.