As I begin this series on Windows 8 I feel like I should qualify these coming articles with a little bit of background about myself. There are a lot of fanboys out there, personally even though everyone has inclinations, that is something I typically try to avoid. Since this article is about Windows 8, that is what we will be talking about. That being said, while I sometimes speak in defense of Windows due to the fact that Apple’s good marketing sometimes creates misconceptions out there about everything else, I really don’t have a horse in this race. A setup that I often use is OS X/Ubuntu/Windows side by side (by side) and tied together by synergy. I often use Windows and OS X as much as I can to stay familiar with them and to insure that I can provide good support for Cru staff and seventy8 Production clients. I also have a fondness for Linux and enjoy living in Ubuntu or Backtrack for pen testing. However I have used Windows 8, I’ve used it a lot actually. The day the Developer Preview came out, it was installed on a partition on my hybrid. Likewise with the Consumer Preview and now the Release Preview. It is telling a story of Microsoft’s vision for the future, and in the next few articles I look forward to taking a look at what my interaction with this new paradigm has been so far.
Not Just for Desktops Anymore
The tablet isn’t a new concept. Tablet computing actually dates back to the late 1800’s but what is relevant here is that it really started to take large strides forwards in 1999 when Microsoft started the tablet project. Tablets started to become a much more commonly used device as they were available and helpful to businesses starting in 2000, and there were some things Microsoft did well with them. One example is handwriting recognition where you could (and can) use your handwriting as a method of input instead of a keyboard. However, while Microsoft tablets started to gain mainstream use before and during the iPad era, the experience hasn’t been the most enjoyable one. Don’t get me wrong, Windows works pretty well on a tablet if you have a stylus, but often consumers feel more natural using their fingers to interact with their screen. Doing this on Windows 7 and before, while possible hasn’t always been easy. The Windows UI has lots of small things to click on that can be difficult to hit with your fat fingers given that what registers from your finger is essentially about the size of a pixel. However Windows has made some radical changes to make tablet computing much easier.
Tomorrow we will take a look at the touch experience in Windows 8. Have you had any experience using tablet/touch on Windows 7 or previous versions? What do you like or dislike about touch/pen input in Windows XP-7.