The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the old saying goes. The cliché looks to be in full effect in Windows 8. No, Microsoft hasn't suddenly and miraculously decided to drop the contentious-to-some Metro UI for its upcoming operating system, but it will be killing two other branding efforts. Windows Live and Zune are all rumored to be going the way of the Dodo, dropped in favor of Apple-esque simplified program names.
Once you post something on the Internet, it takes about a nanosecond for it be picked up by a wandering Web surfer with his or her finger on the Print Screen key, let alone Google's Web crawling bots that take cached snapshots of everything it finds. So even though Hewlett-Packard has taken down a couple of driver documents that made references to Windows 8 SKUs, we can still take a peek thanks to a pair of cached copies.
By including the touch-specific Metro UI alongside the traditional Windows desktop in its next desktop operating system, Microsoft is trying as hard as it has ever done to appeal to the tablet crowd. But its newfound enthusiasm for touch will not mean a lot if developers fail to respond just as enthusiastically. It’s important that developers deliver a consistent and easy-to-use experience across the Metro app ecosystem. To this end, Microsoft has just released a four-page PDF titled Windows 8 Touch Guidance for developers.
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.
With the release of Windows 8 widely expected to happen later this year, we have a lot to look forward to. The next version of Microsoft’s operating system is unique for its inclusion of a touch-friendly UI, called Metro, in addition to the classic Windows desktop environment that we have all gotten so used to over the years. Microsoft may have used college interns to develop sample Metro-style apps for the Windows 8 developer preview build, but you can look forward to seeing a number of triple-A third party apps at the time of Window 8’s launch. One such app will be Mozilla’s Firefox web browser.
Last week, a post on the Building Windows 8 blog gave a detailed account of Microsoft’s Windows on ARM (WOA) effort. Seeing as WOA is going to be the first Microsoft product of its kind, it was hardly a surprise to see the said post generate a considerable amount of buzz. According to MS, it aims to deliver a “no-compromise” experience with WOA, one that feels “just like using Windows 8 on x86/64.” Even though the latest blog post by the Windows engineering team also deals with delivering a consistent experience, the context is completely different this time.
Count ViewSonic among the manufacturers who fully intend to build a tablet or two around Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system, though a launch in the U.S. might depend on how many Windows 8 tablets ViewSonic is able to sell in Taiwan. Max Liu, product marketing director of ViewSonic Asia Pacific, reportedly confirmed a Windows 8 tablet is in the company's cards and that it would ship in the second quarter of 2012 at the earliest.
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.