More details are emerging day by day on what Microsoft are doing with Windows 8 and its Metro style interface. In the lead up to Microsoft’s ‘Consumer Preview’ which to the educated of us means the something akin to the “Windows 7 beta” but will supposedly act more like the Release Candidate which for the UB’s is almost like a proper retail version but still with bugs that can be worked out.
But the details are emerging that Microsoft is wanting to radically re-imagine Windows and what It will be. Microsoft have been slowly unifying they UI’s across their products since Windows Phone 7 was released in 2010. Xbox was the latest product to get the Metro UI overhaul and in fact the Microsoft product portfolio has been getting visually better for it. Next are many of the web services like Hotmail and of course the mighty Windows itself.
But where does this actually come from? Why over haul something that is not actually broken?
Windows 7 was the best selling, fastest selling desktop OS ever. It is also the best ever version of Windows and a massive welcome back to Microsoft after the horror that was Windows Vista. So with all this, why change it?
Those of us who used the Windows 8 Developer Preview would have noticed it was essentially Windows 7 with Windows Phone 7 tacked on with Blu Tack on the side. It was not a pleasant experience. However Microsoft have apparently done lots to improve this. If you read the official reasons why, Microsoft is trying to combine its desktop OS for touch environments (read: Tablets) to compete with renewed pressure from iOS and in particular the iPad. Many people are buying tablets (read: iPads) as opposed to netbooks now as they are far better for surfing and checking Facebook than a netbook. MS is trying its best to get in on the game, if a lot late. So they are trying to merge the familiarity of Windows with the great touch interface provided by Windows Phones Metro UI.
The latest info into the forthcoming ‘Consumer Preview’ is that the famous start button is being removed and the start up screen will, instead of the 3D waving flag Windows Logo will be a 2D more window like logo, plus a replica button to switch to metro UI similar to that in the ‘Developer Preview’.
Not sure I like the sound of these changes to be fair but in my opinion I think in this case Microsoft is trying to get ahead of Apple in the desktop stakes again. Mac OS X Lion 10.7 added LaunchPad which was an iPad style launcher for apps and a place (other than the Apps folder) for Apps/Programs on the computer. it doesn’t really fit and the link between the OSX and iOS UI is still very fragmented.
If Microsoft can succeed here I think they honestly believe they can turn the tides in the mobile world too, after all Windows 8 will introduce more people to Metro and in turn Windows Phone.