Windows 8 has certainly taken its share of criticism since the official debut of Microsoft’s Consumer Preview last Wednesday, but let there be no anger within this article. It would be wrong to just crap on all of Microsoft’s latest attempts at Windows brand revitalization because, guess what? There are some pretty nifty features to like within Windows 8.
We’ve gotten our arms full of data and dust in our attempts to unearth some of the more noteworthy features of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. And the following list of twenty awesome items represents the must-do tweaks and must-check-out, new features of Microsoft’s latest operating system.
Maybe Windows 8 will end up a raging success after all. Power users and many in the media have criticized Microsoft's next generation operating system for being a perhaps too radical of a departure from Windows as we've known it for the past several years, changing up not only the interface in drastic fashion, but even altering the familiar logo. And maybe it's for those very reasons that so many people are flocking to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, to peek if things are truly as bad as they fear. Whatever the reason, Windows 8 is off and running to a large crowd.
The Windows logo has evolved over the years, but has always followed a carefully crafted theme. The Iconic Windows Flag is one of the most recognizable logos of our generation, being printed literally billions of times on the stickers we find plastered to our cases and laptops, as well as the ever so handy start key on just about every keyboard made in the last 10 years. Love it or leave it, everyone knew it, and isn’t that the whole point? Apparently not, as Microsoft has now publically declared their intent to ditch it in favor of something new.
Microsoft first introduced its four-color Windows logo over two decades ago with the launch of Windows 3.0 in May 1990 and it's been waving ever since. It's been altered over the years, with the Redmond software giant adding color gradients, shading, reflections, and other artistry tidbits to maintain a modern flair, but with the launch of Windows 8, the familiar logo might undergo a somewhat radical makeover.
Up until late last week Windows 8 on ARM was a complete mystery. We know the product existed, that it would launch at some point in the future, and it would sport the Metro interface Microsoft has been showing off for almost a year now. The silence on just about everything else had led many to wonder if Microsoft was further behind on the ARM version than they were letting on, but this week they finally opened up the information floodgates. That might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but 9000 words is a bit more than we were expecting. It makes for an interesting read, but let’s be honest here, most of you just want the CliffsNotes right?
Many have claimed that Microsoft’s Windows on Arm efforts were a direct reaction to the iPad, and while I’m sure that’s the motivation these days, it turns out Microsoft had the idea long before the first Apple tablet ever shipped. In a recent post on the building Windows 8 blog, several Windows on Arm details leaked out, along with a pair of photos showing Windows 7 running on an Asus smartphone. Careful examination of the EXIF data shows the pictures were taken on January 22nd 2010, several months before the iPad was released.
The Start button and accompanying menu are iconic parts of Windows first introduced in Windows 95 over a decade and a half ago, and it looks as though the run will end with Windows 7. Leaked photos of Microsoft's Windows 8 "Consumer Preview" build show a Super Bar without a Start button, whereas in previous versions it showed up with a flat Metro-style makeover.
Get ready to wave at your PC and welcome the motion control revolution on the desktop, Microsoft just made available the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) version 1.0 for download. After shedding its beta tag, the Kinect for Windows SDK now supports up to four Kinect sensors on a single computer, skeletal tracking, a Near Mode feature that lets the camera recognize objects just 40cm away, improved stability and audio, and API updates and enhancements.
Nokia may have just announced a massive quarterly loss due to a precipitous decline in handset sales, but it remains confident of “establishing a beachhead in this war of ecosystems.” The Finnish company is now banking on its Windows Phone lineup to turn things around. But are its plans only limited to the smartphone market, or is it also considering venturing into the increasingly crowded media tablet market?