Windows 8 – Victory or Vista?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 by Matt

Launched on October 26th Windows 8 racked up 4 million downloads in the first 3 days, which looks immediately impressive. Unfortunately with a market share of over 90% the stats flag a little when compared to the launch of the Apple Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) in July. Their 7% market share gave them 3 million downloads in 4 days. So why the hesitation and when should you take the plunge?

Firstly we need to acknowledge that many people will naturally fall into one or more of four categories. On one side there are the ‘we fear change’ and ‘if it isn’t broke don’t fix it’, brigade and on the other side there are the ‘must have shiny new thing’ and ‘it’s my job to try this’ people. At this point only the second two are speaking out – giving unsurprisingly mixed signals.

Many reviewers are loving the Modern UI (User Interface) while others are mourning the demise of the start button. Some say that the navigation is intuitive but others are finding it clunky. Much of this is personal opinion so I’m going to stick to the facts.

With so many people using mobile devices Microsoft has worked to make Windows 8 less battery sapping than its predecessor. They have also made a concerted effort to allow the system to be synchronised across all your devices and it has touch screen capability. There is also good news when it comes to Apps with Twitter, Dropbox, Walt Disney Co, ESPN and Lego A/S all working on new, compatible releases. There is something of a US bias here but these are the sort of names that will bring others into the fold.

For many people the movement of the ‘hot’ corners (the ones where you can access hidden menus) to the right hand side of the screen may be the single biggest niggle. I understand the desire for a new look and feel but we’ve been finding these things on the left for quite a while and it seems like a difference rather than an improvement (I’m also a little disconcerted about calling icons ‘charms’ but maybe that’s just me).

Ironically multiple windows are also causing a storm with most people saying that improved capability on mobile devices has been paid for by reduced capability on desktops. Before we all get excited it might be worth noting that while having five things open at once might make you feel efficient, it’s unlikely to make you more productive unless you’re a multi brained octopus.

You may also be pleased to know that if your boss has invested in an upgrade you can now arrive at your desk 3.9 seconds later and still be booted up and working on time!

So is it worth upgrading?

At the end of the day it’s going to be down to personal choice (and which of the four groups you inhabit)…but as I posed the question it’s only right that I should stick my neck out.

Overall I think that upgrading is the way forward but like any new technology (hardware or software) it is unlikely that the first iteration is the best. We know from our chats with Shawn Villaron (Head Honcho of PowerPoint at Microsoft) that Microsoft do not rest on their laurels, so I’d have to advise waiting until they weed out the last of the niggles. We’ll keep you updated….

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