Opinions on Windows 8 as a desktop operating system are definitely a mixed bag. While most people would describe the fusion of Metro and the Desktop as awkward at best, even the biggest of critics have to admit the potential for Metro on tablets is huge. We’ve had three release previews at this point to give us an idea of what the operating system will look like, but hardware could make or break Microsoft’s tablet aspirations. PC OEM’s have tripped over themselves trying to duplicate the industrial designs consumers crave, and if Windows 8 ships on 4 inch thick square tablets, they might as well not even bother. Our first glimpse of new Windows 8 tablet hardware will be on display next week at Computex Taipei, with Acer, Toshiba, & Asus showing off new designs.
Microsoft's been promising to launch the Windows 8 Release Preview during the first week of June for a while now, but an accidentally published (and quickly retracted) Microsoft blog post says that the latest build of the company's new operating should actually hit the Internet today. Hey, tomorrow's June 1st -- that makes this the first week of the month, right?
Microsoft wasn't quite ready to tip its hand with a Windows 8 Release Preview until sometime next week, but ready or not, someone leaked the Chinese version to the Web. With the cat out of the bag, the Windows 8 Release Preview has been making the rounds, giving us more than just a glimpse at what the next build has in store, including an updated boot screen.
In a recent interview with Wired UK, Microsoft VP Frank Shaw admitted that CEO Steve Baller has an 80-inch Windows 8 tablet hanging on the wall in his office. What did you think I was going to say? “It’s his whiteboard, his e-mail machine,” Shaw said, “and it’s a device we’re going to sell.” Windows 8 was shown off at last years CES on an 80-inch Sharp Aquos touch display, however the model Shaw is referencing here is something new.
During Dell’s quarterly earnings call earlier this week, CEO and founder Michael Dell promised a “full complement” of devices, including tablets and other touchscreen products, for the launch of Windows 8 later this year. Now, a slide purportedly showing a 10.8-inch Windows 8 tablet from Dell has cropped up on the Web. Hit the jump for more.
As any SSD owner can tell you, fast boot times are a wonderful thing! Except for, well, when they're not. Microsoft's been working hard at reducing the boot times in Windows 8 and to hear them tell it, your home screen pops up so fast that there simply isn't enough time to mash on the trusty ol' F2 or F8 if you need to muck around in the BIOS or enter Safe Mode. Rather than shrugging their shoulders and leaving users to press a key in a 200ms window, Microsoft instead created a new "Boot Options" menu.
It hasn't been much of an ARM wrestle in the tablet space up to this point, and it's not because AMD and Intel haven't talked the talk. For the most part, they just haven't walked the walk, which has allowed ARM to dominate the category. That could change once Windows 8 comes into view in a few months, and if Microsoft's upcoming Metro infused OS proves popular on touchscreen tablets, you can expect a dogfight between AMD and Intel.
Microsoft has made some huge changes to its desktop UI in Windows 8, however it looks like they aren’t done yet. The Aero Glass UI first introduced in Windows Vista brought us translucent window borders, rounded corners, and an interface that was designed to blend into the background. These effects remained in the consumer preview, and will appear again in the release preview, however Microsoft today confirmed they would be axed from the final shipping version.
Whenever a new Windows OS rears its head, Microsoft alleviates the concerns of wary would-be PC buyers who may be tempted to put off purchasing a new computer for couple of months by offering them a free upgrade to the soon-to-be-released Windows flavor. That may grind to a halt with Windows 8; several sources say Microsoft will still give recent Windows 7 PC buyers a chance to upgrade, but only if buyers shell out another $14.99.
Tired of the current crop of tablets mostly sporting Android and iOS? If that's the case, mark your calendars for November, because according to reports, that's when Intel-based slates running Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system are set to land in retail. Anticipation is running high for next-generation tablets equipped with Microsoft's touch-friendly OS, which could prove game changing in the mobile space.