Now thatMicrosoft has launched its “Building Windows 8” blog, much of the attention in the software market is turning to what the tech giant plans to offer when it launches the operating system next year-and for good reason. Based on what Microsoft has said so far, the company plans to offer a major update to customers that could very well set the tone for how operating systems look and feel in the coming years.
But should consumers and enterprise users really be excited by another Windows? After all, the operating system has been around a long time, and to some extent, it has become a taken-for-granted necessity in the daily lives of folks while flashier products, like Google Android or Apple’s iPhone and iPad, take all the attention.
However, Windows 8 promises to be one of the most important software launches in quite some time. And there’s no good reason for anyone-consumer or IT decision-maker-to ignore it.
Read on to find out why computer users should get excited about Windows 8.
1. It will build on Windows 7
When Windows Vista launched, it was a problem from the very beginning. Consumers, enterprise users and even vendors took issue with the platform, and Microsoft was forced to quickly get Windows 7 to the market to stem its losses. But when it did so, nearly everyone was impressed with what the operating system offered. And in the process, Microsoft rebuilt its ailing brand. With Windows 8,Microsoft is promising to build upon the success of Windows 7. That alone should get Microsoft fans excited.
2. An application marketplace
One of the nice additions to Mac OS X “Lion” is an application marketplace, allowing users to download digital copies of programs right to their Macs. In Windows 8, expect a Windows Apps Marketplace to be included, allowing that operating system’s users to do the same. It’s a nice addition, and it will make getting programs onto the Windows platform easier, far more convenient and-one might even hope-less expensive than it has been in the past.
3. Microsoft’s next answer to Lion
Speaking of Lion, it’s worth noting that the operating system is a nice step up over “Snow Leopard,” its predecessor. With Mac OS X Lion, Apple has delivered over 250 improvements, including the addition of LaunchPad, Mission Control and more touch gestures. In many ways, it can be viewed as superior to Windows 7. But Windows 8 will be designed specifically to address Lion. If all goes well, it should be even more capable than Lion. Why wouldn’t folks be excited by that?
4. The tablet consideration
One of Microsoft’s biggest problems has been its inability to adequately carve out a portion of the tablet market. However, with Windows 8,it hopes to change that by offering full multitouch support in the operating system. Given the importance of tablets today and the fact that many enterprise users especially are waiting for a worthwhile Windows-based tablet, the software giant’s focus on multitouch could be one of the more exciting additions to Windows 8.
Expect to See a Major Redesign in Windows 8
5. Company deployments
On the IT side, it’s important to keep in mind that many companies are still using Windows XP, and have so farbalked at deploying Windows 7. For those firms, the best reason to be excited for Windows 8 is that it will launch next year, meaning they won’t need to wait that much longer if they want the latest and greatest version of Windows. For those firms that don’t like being early adopters, it’s the safe play to deploy Windows 7 now, and then next year analyze Windows 8 to see if that should come next. From an IT-deployment perspective, the Windows 8 timetable is ideal.
6. Additional security?
With each new version of Windows, Microsoft offers up more features to keep folks secure. How successful the latest versions of Windows are at actually securing computers is decidedly up for debate. But it’s tough to argue against the opinion that Windows 7 is more secure than Windows XP and Vista. Thus, it’s certain Microsoft will offer even more security features in Windows 8, hopefully making that platform even less likely to cause problems for users. Will it be totally secure? No operating system is. But it will likely be more secure than previous iterations of the software, and that should make users happy.
7. A fresh user interface
Microsoft seems committed to making Windows 8 one of the biggest overhauls in the operating system’s long and storied history. It plans to make the biggest impact by showing off a new user interface that has elements mimicking those found in Windows Phone 7. In fact, in June, when Microsoft first previewed the upcoming operating system, it said that the platform will come with a “tile-based Start screen” that will replace the standard Windows Start menu. What’s more, the operating system will come with “Live” tiles for notifications and information on apps. Expect Windows 8 to look much different.
8. A change in Microsoft’s focus?
Perhaps the factor to be most excited about is Microsoft’s apparent willingness to significantly change things around in Windows. Since Windows 95, the operating system hasn’t really changed all that much, even though Microsoft has made marked improvements to its design. But with Windows 8, Microsoft seemingly realizes that things are getting stale in the Windows ecosystem, and in order to stay ahead of companies like Apple and Google, it needs to make major changes. That’s refreshing. It speaks to an apparent change in focus in Redmond that could eventually benefit just about every stakeholder.
9. ARM support
One of the best additions to Windows 8 is support for ARM-based chips. Previously, Windows did not support ARM technology, which put it at a disadvantage in the mobile space. But with the help of ARM, all that will change. Expect more mobile devices running Windows, and with any luck at all, more affordable lightweight notebooks that ditch more-expensive processors for ARM-based options.ARM support could be integral to Microsoft’s success with Windows 8.
10. Microsoft’s first shot against Google
Earlier this year, Google released Chrome OS on Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung. And since then, speculation in the operating system market has abounded over whether or not Google will be able to take down the software giant the way it has in other markets. With Windows 8, Microsoft will have its chance to respond to Chrome OS and put the onus back on Google to respond. Windows 8 could very well kick off an arms race between Chrome OS and Windows. The users of both companies’ operating systems will benefit from that.