Windows-based tablets have not been popular with users. The Windows XP with stylus-based data entry and the touch-based tablets running Windows 7 are poor performers.
However Windows 8 has many surprises with some unique and innovative features.
Windows 8 is being developed from the ground up to efficiently run on both traditional computers (desktops and notebooks) as well as touch-based tablets. The OS can run on either ARM or x86 processors, though apps written specifically for the x86 desktop environment won’t be able to run on ARM-based mobile devices.
Windows 8 tablets will run an updated version of the Metro UI found on Windows Phones, and the UI appears to transfer remarkably well to larger touch screens. The animated “Live Tile” home screen found on Windows Phones will be there with much more processing power to drive more powerful apps.
Windows 8 has come out with beta in February and a full software release is slated for June 2012. The preview clearly shows that Microsoft has really taken the time to develop a platform that will succeed on tablets, without abandoning the company’s PC roots.
Microsoft’s ‘Think Different’ focus
Many current upstart tablets are just iPad copycats. They share essentially the same UI (multiple pages of identically sized home screen icons), they operate with nearly identical touch gestures, and they basically look the same. But by being such a relative latecomer to the modern tablet party,
Microsoft has a great opportunity to look at what’s not being done, what can be done better, and what can be done differently and incorporating the same in Windows 8.
A winning innovation is Windows 8′s ability to switch from a tablet UI to a desktop UI. Moreover, it has ARM platforms delivering desktop experiences in mobile form factors. Users might opt for a dual-OS device that can serve as both a casual tablet and as a no-excuses productivity computer. So far, Apple or the Android contingent has answered this very real consumer problem.
Windows Phone Mango part of Windows 8
Microsoft has finally found its footing with Windows Phone 7 (and in Mango, Windows Phone 7.5, in particular). Windows’ new mobile OS is very well done. Click the URL uphttp://aka.ms/wpdemo in your mobile browser to have a look-in.
If Windows 8 is as well-executed as Windows Phone Mango, it will be a positive experience for users. The Windows Phone platform may not have a copious catalog of apps, or even that many adoptees, but most everyone who actually uses a Windows Phone enjoys the essential OS experience.
Windows Could Provide a Consistent Computing Experience
ultimately what users are looking for is for their computing experience to follow them around creating a consistent UI across devices. Windows 8 experiences will be able to deliver this vision.
Windows 8 will be a cloud-powered experience through Windows Live SkyDrive. As a result, data, apps and settings will be synced across Windows 8 devices using your Microsoft account. Much like what iCloud is striving to accomplish with a more unified iOS experience, SkyDrive will similarly do for Windows 8.
Since Metro apps (i.e., Windows 8 tablet apps) are HTML5-based, they will work in any environment — on x86 and ARM devices, on tablets, laptops and full-fledged PCs. This will provide the users a harmonious computing experience.
By using HTML5 as a bridge between tablets and computers, Microsoft has a distinct advantage as the broad swath of software that HTML5 can support provides a seamless integration.
Microsoft Will Offer Differentiated, But Not Fragmented, Options
For Windows Phone, Microsoft provides a list of mandatory specs in order to ensure a quality experience across all Windows Phone devices. Microsoft will likely implement the same policy for its Windows 8 tablet devices.
Windows 8 tablets will come in different sizes and different orientations, and have different battery lives depending on their capabilities. As there is no software fragmentation, Windows 8 could become a refreshing, consistent, easy-to-use alternative.