With one million downloads of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview in just 24 hours, Windows’ comeback is off to a great start. It has been five days since Microsoft released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview into the wild, perhaps it is time to review and roundup what tech insiders have published about the beta operating system.
(Needless to say, everything that has transpired since the release of the Preview has given Win8Back a lot of ammos!)
The New York Times: “It’s a huge radical rethinking of Windows — and one that’s beautiful, logical and simple. In essence, it brings the attractive, useful concept of Start-screen tiles, currently available on Windows Phone 7 phones, to laptops, desktop PC’s and tablets.” Click here to read the whole thing
Gizmodo: “Weird can be brilliant. Weird can be daring. Windows 8 is all of those things.” Click here to read the whole thing
Mashable: “In the end, Microsoft isn’t just asking you to get used to a different interface for Windows. It’s asking you to get used to multiple interfaces within the same OS. I’m not sure how many people have the patience for that. Still, Windows 8 can only get more stable and easier to use while it slowly advances toward a general release, and Metro is gorgeous enough to keep me looking forward to Windows 8′s final act.” Click here to read the whole thing
Slate: “Microsoft’s new version of Windows is fantastic, jarring, and risky at the same time. Fantastic because it marks the clearest sign yet that Microsoft is embracing the future, shifting from the device that defined the company—the personal computer—to the new era of mobile machines.” Click here to read the whole thing
The Verge: “Overall Windows 8 Consumer Preview feels like a much more finished product that its Developer Preview equivalent. Microsoft has clearly taken steps to address some criticism over its Metro fullscreen approach for PC users, and its various gestures make it easy to navigate the operating system regardless of touch.” Click here to read the whole thing
CNET: “Is the love Windows 8 clearly wants too late to save Microsoft? Its first beta is eminently touchable, definitely social, and maybe just a bit sexy–but no shoo-in as belle of the ball.” Click here to read the whole thing
Engadget: “As it stands, Windows 8 is a considerably better tablet operating system than any previous version has managed to be. However, it’s still a clumsier desktop OS than Windows 7. That’s a problem Microsoft must fix before release.” Click here to read the whole thing
Laptop Mag: “The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is far from a finished product, but if we had to sum up the experience at this stage we’d use two words: Pretty. Complicated.” Click here to read the whole thing
The Telegraph: “Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview is not finished, but it’s set to be the company’s most radical release in a generation.” Click here to read the whole thing
Boy Genius Report: “Windows 8 is the tip of the iceberg. The start of a shift that will eventually see the ‘tablet’ UI and the ‘desktop’ UI merge into one comprehensive user experience.” Click here to read the whole thing
While it is thoroughly natural to see Microsoft-friendly tech journalists/writers (see here and here) to sing the praises of Metro and Windows, it is definitely strange to see a mainstream tech press that fell head over heels over for every Apple rumour and announcement on Earth in the past ten years giving Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview a decent share of love. (Aw shucks, where are my Kin and Zune jokes?)
By and large, the consensus seems to be that Microsoft might have a chance to out-innovate Apple (and Google by extension due to its copycat strategy) in touch user-friendliness. Given that the unveiling of Apple’s next iPad is coming this week, it should be interesting to see how big of a user-friendliness lead Micosoft have actually built.
Of course, then there are odd articles like this one where the author fails to understand what Windows 8 is trying to do and claims that it is hard to shut down his computer. (Clue: See iPads, iPhones, or any of the latest mobile computing gadgets.)
Windows 8 is off to a good start, though upon reading many of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview articles that have been published since February 29, it is even more clear to Win8Back that there are three things that Micosoft needs to do (if the Windows team isn’t planning on those already) to ensure that Windows 8 will take off when it is officially launched.
1) Clear messaging and education/training around Metro and Aero/classic mode for the average consumer and power users. (The implicit assumption is that many of the “technical gaps” are filled by launch.) Failure to do so would risk turning Windows 8 into a Vista-like disaster.
2) Clear push and strong incentive for computing device makers to innovate and induce the next “gadget” revolution. It is pretty clear that Windows 8 will shine the brightest when mated with proper, well-thought out hardware. (Everyone in the Windows ecosystem will win.)
3) Clear differentiated marketing efforts in cooperation from partners. Metro will not sell itself (yet). Early words of a “Windows Reimagined” campaign sounded pretty promising, though some of the latest ads from Microsoft still worry me quite a lot. (See below for an example of how much room for improvement Microsoft marketing has.)
I will definitely be flushing those three points out in more details in future posts! Stay tuned!