Windows 8 Developer Preview has been out for a couple of weeks. I decided not to be the first out of the door to comment and let the dust settle on all the other bloggers opinions before giving my tuppeny’s worth.
I installed on Oracle’s VirtualBox after discovering that VMware don’t offer support or solutions for Developer Previews. The UI straight out of the box is the Metro UI emulating the Windows 7 Phone in terms of experience. The interaction here is totally intended for touchscreen – tablet users but works just fine with either laptop touchpad or mouse.
Using a mouse takes some getting used to and I’m hoping Microsoft is going to add some form of interactive (optional) help for users who can’t intuit the navigation functionality.
Windows 8 allows the user the first signs of Windows Live integration – you can login with an existing or new account and sync data to the MIcrosoft cloud via Live.
I’m personally hoping the beta shows more ambitious integration of Live services; replacing onboard functionality and firmly taking the OS into the Cloud. See my earlier article on this: http://clanrossconcepts.blogspot.com/2010/05/windows-live-really-i-thought-windows.html
The post login screen offers the user a broad smorgasbord of Metro Apps including a set of Twitter and Facebook apps that owe more than a nod to Microsoft FUSE Labs Spindex :
Metro Apps are activated by clicking on the right-hand side of the tile (that’s the name for the really big icons) but this will not work if your screen resolution is set below 1024×768. Thank goodness for Twitter, blogs and the internet or I would still be scratching my head asking myself “Is this just a Proof of Concept?”
At this time there is no way from within a Metro App to close it or exit it.
Have no fear though as Windows 8 has an old school Windows Desktop and with it a nicely revamped Task Manager for exiting those pesky yet gorgeous Metro Apps.
The Task Manager opens modestly enough from the known triggers but click on the More Details button and you will receive these:
In addition as I’m sure you have read already Windows Explorer has come of age receiving an Office 2007/ 2010 like ribbon interface:
I’m sorry to say though that if you are Total Commander dual pane groupie Microsoft has ignored your cries again.
I was able to even install a 3rd party application which when the prerequisite for .NET 3.5 runtime came up Windows 8 offered to activate this for me thru a simple yet elegant Windows features on/off screen:
As a Developer’s Preview this knocked my socks off. The UX / UI is probably the sexiest thing to come out of Microsoft since … well ever. My hat is off to the Windows 8 team here for taking the Metro UI from Windows 7 Phone and extending it to Tablet or PC without the user being obligated to use it.
Microsoft are truly creating an ecosystem here to support all devices and even though there are unanswered questions and we will no doubt hear the usual gripes aimed at Redmond about driver and 3rd Party support, just like in the past we should all note that if we can download and start testing this so can the Driver and Software companies.
Of course the real question you need to ask yourself,
Are you too retro for Metro?