September 15, 2011

Windows 8 - The Mobile Paradigm Shift Is Now Very Real At Microsoft

Windows 8 and its Metro interface were unveiled yesterday at the BUILD conference. It's very interesting from the point of view of user experience and new interaction concepts coming to Windows. You can read more about our very first impression in Windows 8 - The next windows what do we think. The more I read about it and the more people here at the office are installing the developer download, the more I'm thinking Microsoft is going places with Metro.

Windows 8 is Metro and Much More

Windows 8 is more than Metro and yet Metro is really an interaction game changer for all the shops who will be running on Microsoft in the future. Microsoft is truly going to embrace the known form factors as we know them with the same experience metaphors be it the phone, the tablet, the notebook or the desktop.

I say it's more than the basic interaction provided by Metro because it's also lots of internal re-architecting to allow for laptops to boot up in 8 seconds so the overall experience is truly one of on the go usage i.e. mobility. Watch the video below - it's pretty impressive.

A last thing that is very impressive with Windows 8 is it runs on the ARM chip architecture. This is meant to get Microsoft to go places it has never gone before! With its architecture, ARM allows for performance on very little power consumption. This in turn allows for smaller form factor while still getting battery longevity. Windows 8 with its ARM architecture support will turn up on so many tablets and other devices that it will make the actual Windows number pale in comparison. This year alone Windows will ship on 350M PC's.  With Windows 8 this number can only go up.

The interesting question about ARM is the non support of x86 based applications. It makes sense because it would be a monumental task. I have some reservations about this still so I look forward to understanding this aspect better. How natural will it be for users to realize that an application that runs on their desktop won't run on their tablet if the design language is all the same? This could be confusing and misleading.

Microsoft Competitors are Paying Attention - No Question

It's still really early in the game. Windows 8 is still far away. Nevertheless, I think Microsoft is doing all the right things. With this new Metro look, everything from phone to desktop and everything in between is powerful. One gets the power of the platform, its applications depth and breath and a consistent interaction model across all devices. Some brands out there truly ought to be watching for the stickiness of their brand, because speaking for myself this is a very attractive proposition.

No comments: