Windows 8 analysis: Everything you need to know

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By Richi Jennings (@richi) - June 2, 2011.

Windows 8 is coming. Microsoft (MSFT) showed it off at D9 and Computex, touting its new, designed-for-tablets UI, and that it's been on a diet. But "Windows 8" is still a code name, we're told. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers lust and loathe.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Mark Zuckerberg: CIA agent?..

James Niccolai kicks us off:

Microsoft called it a "reimagining" of Windows. ... It is intended partly to improve Microsoft's position in the ... tablet PC market. ... But the new interface is intended for use on all types of PCs

... from small, touch-sensitive screens to traditional large-screen PCs ... with or without a keyboard and mouse.


The new interface is a significant departure. ... The start screen now has several large, colored [tiles] that look similar to those on ... Windows Phone 7 ... without the usual Windows menus, system tray and scroll bars. ... The application tiles display new information ... automatically, such as Twitter and e-mail. ... The Windows 8 interface can be controlled using gestures.


The Windows desktop will continue to be available, and ... the OS will be compatible with current ... applications and peripherals.  

  Joanna Stern will have no nonsense:

The new OS is a melding of Windows 7 and Microsoft’s Metro UI. The “start screen” ... is tile based and will provide easy access to applications. ... These [are] apps running over Windows and that you can always return to your regular desktop. [But] the entire OS has been designed for touch input.


Windows 8 requires fewer resources than ... Windows [7] ... it will work with both x86 and ARM. ... The OS will support two types of apps ... classic Windows programs and ... new HTML and Javascript apps. Nope, not Silverlight.  

  Tim Anderson has more questions than answers:

Where is Silverlight and .NET? Clearly these technologies are still supported ... since all of Windows is still there. ... Can developers build [Silverlight] apps for the new Windows user interface ... or is it HTML/JavaScript only?


I will be surprised if all these options are not available, but it was not explicitly stated. ... We are promised more details ... in September.  

  Meanwhile, John Gruber damns with faint praise:

The new Windows 8 touch-based UI ... is clearly drawn from the same inspiration as Windows Phone 7, and shows some seriously innovative UI thinking. ... But I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build ... on top of the existing Windows.


They’ll never make Excel for Windows feel right on a touchscreen UI. ... The iPad succeeds because it has eliminated complexity, not because it has covered up the complexity of the Mac. ... Windows 8 is trying to have it all, and I don’t think that can be done.  

  But Harry McCracken analogizes thuswise:

Windows 8 looks like the most radical change ... since Windows 3.0. ... [Perhaps] that’s understating matters. ... This situation sounds a lot like the computing lifestyle ... from 1990-1995. ... Windows 3.x was a reaction ... to the trends Apple put into place with the original Mac. ... [Users] had to continue dealing with the limitations of DOS. ... Even so, people preferred it to IBM’s OS/2 ... [which] demanded that people take a great leap forward.


Gruber makes a point that ... the iPad approach ... is conceptually superior. ... It’s elegant. It’s decisive. ... [However,] adding a new touch interface to old Windows isn’t elegant or decisive ... [but the] strategy could be “fundamentally flawed” and wildly successful.  

And Finally...
Mark Zuckerberg: CIA agent?

[For those of you who still don't know, The Onion is satire.]  
Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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