Will the Learning Curve Be Steep?

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Will the Learning Curve Be Steep?

Microsoft has taken a major gamble with Windows 8. Rather than simply offer the same, basic layout it has for years, the companys upcoming operating system will feature tiles, similar to those on Windows Phone 7, to deliver as much information to the user as possible in a single pane. It seems like an interesting idea, but will it take a long time for users to grow accustomed to using it? Microsoft better hope not.

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Will Windows Tablets Really Launch This Time?

For years now, Microsoft has been promising a number of tablets running Windows. The only issue is, few have actually launched. With Windows 8, Microsoft seems committed to the tablet space, thanks to a virtual keyboard and other key features that will make their way to the OS. But given its history, it might not be a stretch for some to question whether Microsoft will finally be able to get vendor partners to launch Windows 8-based tablets this time around.

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Should I Wait for Windows 8 Rather Than Buy Windows 7?

By announcing Windows 8 so soon and detailing its many new features, some consumers and even enterprise customers might be wondering if they should buy a Windows 7-based PC right now. After all, with Windows 8 potentially little more than a year away, customers may choose to wait for Windows 8 rather than buy Windows 7 now.

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How Will ARM's Processors Affect the Marketplace?

Windows 8 is the first operating system from Microsoft that will be capable of running on ARM architecture, along with Intel and ARM chips. That simple addition will help Microsoft appeal more to tablet makers that might want to run Windows 8 on their platform. However, theres no telling if ARM processors will be making their way to laptops or other devices when Windows 8 launches. At this point, there are still many question marks related to ARMs partnership with Microsoft.

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How Many Versions Should Customers Expect?

Over the years, Microsoft has released different versions of Windows for different customer groups. The company has offered enterprise versions, Home versions and many other options of the same edition of Windows. This time around, Microsoft hasnt talked about how many editions Windows 8 will have. But it will hopefully announce that sooner rather than later so users can determine which might be best for them.

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Will There Be a Mac App Store Competitor?

Earlier this year, Apple launched the Mac App Store, allowing users to download applications to their Macs. The store will come standard with Mac OS X "Lion." Rumors suggest Microsoft will also offer an applications marketplace in Windows 8. So far, however, it hasnt made that official. Will Windows 8 come with a Mac App Store competitor? Chances are it will. But at this point, Microsoft isnt ready to confirm it.

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Why Are Tablets Taking Center Stage?

Enterprise customers especially might be concerned about Microsoft spending so much time as of late talking about tablet functionality. Those firms, while warming to the idea of tablets, are still heavily invested in laptops and desktops. If Windows 8 is focused on tablets and not on other form factors, it might be cause for alarm and confusion for corporate customers. Microsoft will need to address that concern as quickly as possible.

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Will a Cloud Version Come Along?

With the impending launch of Chrome OS, some wonder if Microsoft will respond with a cloud-based version of its own operating system. So far, the company has been tight-lipped about such a possibility, but if Windows 8 launches next year without a cloud version, Google will have the opening it needs to corner that market.

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How Much Will It Cost?

Windows has never been cheap. Chances are, Windows 8 wont be cheap either. However, Microsoft has yet to reveal pricing on the software, and it probably wont until next year. Until then, consumers and enterprise customers will need to wait and see how much the operating system will actually set them back if they decide to buy it in 2012.

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When Will It Launch?

Since Microsoft hasnt offered any pricing information, it shouldnt surprise anyone that the company is still tight-lipped about its launch. Microsoft has said that the operating system will launch in 2012, but it has stopped short of providing any further details. All signs point to a late-2012 release, but look for Microsoft to make the launch date official sometime next year.

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