Windows 8 – Radically Different!

Many would say that Android devices have done very little in upsetting the supremacy of the iPad as the flagship Tablet device. But let’s face it, have they even done anything at all? Is Android the Messiah we are waiting for or is there another yet to come?

After a very brief romance with Android, i do not think the Android platform has what it takes, at least for now. Of course, that is just my personal opinion and i am sure i can easily be proven wrong.

Microsoft has officially unveiled its next-generation Windows 8 operating system, detailing how the company has “reimagined” the software to allow a single operating system to run on a variety of systems from tablets to desktops and Intel to ARM. The company’s new “Metro” user interface emphasizes touch-centered input and full-screen apps much like the iPad, but also supports full mouse and keyboard input with the familiar underpinnings of earlier Windows versions.

Perhaps most notable for Apple observers is Microsoft’s tablet effort with Windows 8, marking yet another significant effort to unseat Apple’s iPad from its dominating position atop the tablet market. It is just as versatile as any previous version of Windows (maybe more) and it is made to work with both touch-based gestures and/or keyboard and mouse-based actions.

Apple, unlike Microsoft, built its mobile OS off of the roots of the desktop and would theoretically have an easier time integrating the two. As of Lion and iOS 5, however, the two are distinct and show no immediate signs of getting closer other than minor interface elements. The Cupertino company’s attitude towards mobile is the polar opposite of Microsoft’s and envisions a “post-PC” world where Microsoft has been insisting the PC is still relevant. Microsoft’s bet on Windows 8, regardless of whether or not Windows Phone 8 merges, is that it can get buyers interested in tablets based on an identical interface in desktops and notebooks. Good move!

While Microsoft acknowledges that Windows 8 is a work in progress, the current tablet implementation still appears to be a somewhat rough integration of the Metro touch experience with more traditional desktop computing.

Questions, however, remain about architecture support, with the Intel-powered tablet running Windows 8 serving as a capable device but missing the benefits of ARM-based systems such as power efficiency. Microsoft promises that ARM support is an important component to the Windows 8 strategy, but the company is not yet able to offer hands-on time with such devices.

Timing remains a question mark. Microsoft still isn’t saying when Windows 8 will be released. But it’s widely expected sometime in 2012.

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