Windows 8. A first glance of the Consumer Preview.

Ok. So tonight I downloaded the consumer preview of Windows 8 and gave it a go. I just wanted to share some thoughts here.

The first thing I noticed was the fish. What’s up with that? It’s on the boot screen for some reason, and when you’ve got your tile desktop in front of you, it also sits in the “Desktop” tile. I really have no clue on what it’s doing there and frankly, I’d rather see it belly up somewhere. So much for the fish.

I already saw the tiles in many, many demo’s, so no real surprise there. In this new version, there are some working app previews like photo’s, calendar and music. Unfortunately, not all of those are available to us European users, as we allways have to wait longest for things for some reason. One example is the music app which doesn’t connect when you’re outside the States (I guess, don’t exactly know where it does work).

The apps behind the files are window less. This looks good, but I do question how well it works for users who love to multitask. And more importantly; if there won’t be any windows in the future, what will Microsoft do with the name of it’s new pretty OS? Windows seems a bit… irrelevant?

So once in an app, there is no window. This imposes another challenge: how the hell do I close this thing? There is no little cross anymore, no way to minimize. Untill now, I haven’t been able to find out the trick, other then using the Windows key to return to the start screen. Of course there’s something I missed and I probably have to read the f*cking manual. But still, these things should be intuitive. It’s not. My parents won’t understand it, pretty sure of that.

Win7 mode
The bigest pain of them all is what I shall call “Windows 7 mode”. Microsoft has a challenge here, a real big one. Of course, when 8 launches, there will be tons of apps incompatible with the new Metro interface. And lot’s of those might not even get a Metro interface, who knows. So Microsoft needs a way to get those apps into their new OS, and it’s done this by keeping the old one pretty much intact. So when you open a legacy Windowed app, it switches to “Windows 7 mode” and it’s back to basics. This might be conveniant for users, it’s not for the OS experience. It feels like 2 OS’es struggling with each other. There is no other way to do it, I get that. But Microsoft should make more effort in styling the Win7 mode to at least look a bit like Win8. It’s too much like the old one, which will probably confuse users.

Conclusion (for now…)
Ok. Let’s not be too critical. It’s also pretty awesome. Microsoft is taking a bit step ditching their old approach based on principles from way back. That’s challenging, daring and a touch cookie. It’s a vision which hasn’t been fulfilled quite yet. And I don’t expect it to be in Win8. Win9 will probably be what they imagined all along, but a transition period is unevitable.That period I’ll be using Win8 to get started. Bring it on!

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