Last week, Microsoft officially announced the global availability of the most popular desktop operating system on the planet, Windows 8. In the official press release, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted as saying, “We have reimagined Windows and the result is a stunning lineup of new PCs.” Windows 8 underwent over 1 billion hours of testing and offers a uniquely different new experience for users whether on a desktop or on a mobile computer.
Windows 8 will be available in two main versions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. There will also be version called Windows 8 Enterprise, which is meant for big businesses. And yet another version called Windows RT, which was created for ARM-based tablets and other mobile devices.
Windows 8 brings many new features such as a revamped Start screen with an interactive tile menu, enhanced sharing and social networking capabilities, and excellent support for new types of hardware in different form factors. It offers much better support for touchscreen displays, and as such, it will be bundled with a lot of touch-enabled computers to be released through 2012 and 2013. It will also be available for those who wish to upgrade PCs that are already running Windows 7.
Based on initial reports, Windows 8 seems to have a number of noticeable flaws. First, the modern user interface laid on top of the traditional one can make menu navigation downright confusing. Second, there are some features that seem to have disappeared. The Start screen displays a noticeable lack of long-time prominent fixtures like the Start button, programs such as Microsoft Paint, and many other things. Finally, not all versions of Windows 8 can run the same types of apps–Windows RT does not support normal desktop programs and can only run apps downloaded from Windows Store.
Perhaps the market just needs time to warm up to Microsoft’s new flagship operating system. But the fact remains, if Windows 8 adoption rates don’t pick up, the whole world may be in for a completely new Microsoft in 2013.