Don’t look now but Microsoft is Driving Innovation with Windows 8

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If you have been following the tech press since Windows 8 started the preview process as it was being developed you know the reviews have been very mixed.

Then we get the surprise announcement last summer that Microsoft was building their own Windows 8 device called Surface. To say the tech world was surprised and somewhat shocked by that info is an understatement.  The idea behind Surface was to build a device that would enhance the experience of Windows 8 and that might put OEM’s on call that they needed to up their game when it came to the Windows 8 devices they were building. There was a need for OEM’s to bring better designs and form factors to the table.

We also know that Windows 8 sales are roughly along the lines of Windows 7 as the two month mark just passed with 60 million licenses being sold.  Still no solid numbers on sales of the Surface RT tablet that was released on the same day as Windows 8 was in late October of last year but we do know it has been expanded into other retail outlets and not just Microsoft’s own brick and mortar stores.  We also know that the long awaited Surface Pro, a full blown Windows 8 tablet that can run all of your legacy Windows software, will be out in just a couple of weeks.

Now we just have to look back a few days at the recently completed Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas, which by the way Microsoft did not have a large presence at, to see that Microsoft is actually impacting the OEM’s and their Windows 8 devices that are already out or will be released.

So where is this impact coming from?  Well it stems from Windows 8 and its new touch based interface that begins with the new Start Screen.

Windows 8 has gotten a pretty hard knock in reviews and the tech press in general for its mish mash of two different styles of interface in one – old school desktop and the new modern interface – along with the apps in the Windows Store.

Despite all of the dislike for the new interface many people who have had the opportunity to try Windows 8 on a touch enabled device realize that this new Start Screen and modern apps work well in a touch environment.  When you add a keyboard and mouse into the mix it really does become an ideal and efficient way to work with the operating system.

So that means a Windows 8 device with either a dock style keyboard for a tablet or a convertible style which allows you to transform the device from a typical laptop configuration to a full tablet are the ideal form factors for this OS.  Even an all in one that has a touch screen could work well in the right ergonomic setups.

If you go back throughout CES and see the form factors that were introduced with Windows 8 on those systems the majority of them had touch screens.  Even Intel revealed that they would require all ultrabooks to have touch screens in 2012 and beyond.

So why did all these systems have touch screens?

Well because they had Windows 8 on them.

Who built Windows 8?

Well Microsoft did of course.

You see how they did that?

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One thought on “Don’t look now but Microsoft is Driving Innovation with Windows 8

  1. I want to give credit to Microsoft for making the tablet/laptop convertible successful.

    I think we’ve reached a point in computing where MOST of the things people do (word processing, email, facebook, ‘casual’ gaming) can be done on relatively weak hardware. Obviously not ALL things, as I’m sitting here typing this on my gaming PC with an nvidia surround / SLI setup, but people like me are a niche.

    I think the focus of most companies has switched now to form factor. Things get smaller. Prettier. More ‘portable’. Probably the best way to make a laptop more ‘portable’ is to make it convertible into a tablet. You get two devices in one, and make things possible like pen input and touch games. Have you seen the Razer Edge? It’s four form factors in one. THAT is cool.

    I don’t think convertibles would have as much success if they were still running Windows 7. A convertible has the hardware of a tablet and a PC. Windows 7 is the software of a PC; that’s not enough.

    I think Microsoft saw this coming, because Windows 8 seems like it was designed almost specifically to be used by laptop/tablet convertibles. Even if it wasn’t one of their main goals, I would still argue that Windows 8 is the perfect OS to run on a laptop/tablet convertible. You would have both hardware and software suitable for both PC and tablet use, there would be no compromise.

    I’m excited for the Surface Pro and will be picking one up soon, hopefully.