By introducing Windows 8, Microsoft has dramatically shifted its focus from text to touch to take on ever-increasing popularity of iOS based iPad of Apple and Android tablets of Samsung, Google, Amazon and Nook. Microsoft and PC makers alike had been looking to Windows 8 to resurrect their dwindling sales.
Windows 8 is designed especially for touch-screen computers, to make desktops and laptops work more like tablets. It is Microsoft’s way of addressing the popularity of tablets, namely the iPad. But Windows 8 will work with mouse and keyboard shortcuts, too. Initially, the users will take some time to get used to this new operating system, but in due course they will become familiar with this.
There are two versions of Windows 8 -Windows 8 and Windows RT. They look the same, but they run on different processing chips. Windows 8 runs on standard chips from Intel and AMD and is the version you’d get if you’re upgrading your home desktop or notebook PC. Windows RT is the version for light, small tablets and laptop-tablet hybrids.
Windows 8 will run programs written for older versions of Windows. Windows RT won’t. It’s limited to applications specifically written for it and available through Windows store. As a consolation, a version of Microsoft Office is included free on Windows RT devices.
When you start a Windows 8 machine, you are greeted with a screen that shows the time and a pretty picture. There are no icons. Instead, you have tiles, which can dynamically show information. Clicking on these live tiles opens the program. Depending on the resolution of your computer you can see around 25 to 20 tiles. If you want access tiles that are on visible on screen, you can swipe right on a tablet or use a scroll bar on bottom on desktop and laptop. Home screen also features a powerful universal that can be used to quickly access a program, system settings or files.
The Desktop screen lacks a Start button, so it’s hard to start programs from there. If users have to access some program, they have to go back to Home screen. Now, there are two ways to switch between Desktop app and Home screen. One, you can use Windows key. Or you can use Charms, which are hidden. On tablet, Charms can be revealed by swiping left from the right bezel. On desktop or laptop, navigating the mouse pointer to the left or right corner on the bottom of the screen does the trick. Charms also have options to access search, settings, share, and see connected devices. All of these change depending on the context, or in other words the program open on the screen. For example, if you click search on Home screen, you get universal search. But if you click search in windows store, you get app search.
The user interface changes like Home screen, and the hallmark of the Modern UI are tiles, rectangular windows with clean lines, lots of while space, lots of play for pictures and an abundance of bright colors.
In Windows 8, all the programs with Modern UI design language will be distributed through Windows Store, a concept that is similar to app stores on Android devices, iPhone and iPad etc.
Just like Lock Screens on iPad or Android tablet, the Lock Screen on Windows 8 can show information like battery status, connectivity status, number of unread mails, Twitter mentions, Facebook updates etc.
Windows 8 works best when connected to the web all the time. Even program tiles can pull in data from the web in real time and show it as a kind of notification. For example, news apps can pull in data and show headlines through their tiles. One more way in which Windows 8 makes use of the cloud connectivity is through SkyDrive, Microsoft’s web-based storage service.
Windows 8 also comes with a new browser – Internet Explorer 10.
Windows 8 works best if you have computer or laptop with a touchscreen. Windows 8 is faster and smoother compared to Windows 7.