Software giant, Microsoft, is preparing to release its new Windows 8 OS into the mobile development world. This new OS has been met with much excitement and almost as much skepticism. The question now is did Microsoft succeed in making a game changer? Is Windows 8 really all that we thought it would be? We shall see.
As users start to get the beta versions of Windows 8 and start to play around, many are being stumped by the new format. It seems that the new OS has a learning curve that has frustrated many. It IS in beta, so many issues are still being worked on however, and the ability to navigate the OS with a mouse and keyboard is currently difficult. Some enthusiasts even go as far as stating that they love the new setup and look forward to learn the new setup. The use of the Windows key in Windows 7 makes navigation quick and easy and will do the same in Windows 8. While there are a few kinks to work out, we need to remember that it is currently the beta and chances are many if not all of the common problems will get fixed in the final version.
The general experience of using the new Metro setup on a touch device is a positive one. It not only looks great but addresses many annoyances from other OS and is extremely comfortable for your fingers.
Apple and Android each have some very strong touch setups, but both use hardware buttons that are not touch based and sometimes don’t feel quite at home. Windows 8 answers this with a completely native touch environment that feels natural. For example, many mobile device users know what the “long press” gesture is. More often than not this gesture is used to simulate a right click, which is a left over design concept from attempts at mimicking the mouse.
Windows 8 uses nudges drags, flicks, and taps to compensate. Flicking a tile up or down opens up options while dragging the tile around dislodges the tile and lets you move it around.
Windows 8 boasts a standard keyboard that is reminiscent of other mobile developers keyboards, but it also brings a few new options to the table. Aspiring mobile development company, Microsoft, has added a few keys and functions to put their own spin on the standard option.
There is also a new option that enables a “split keyboard”. This option allows for easy two-handed typing and in landscape mode places a number pad in the center that isn’t there in portrait mode. It is also configurable to fit various thumb lengths for further comfort when in use.
The extended keyboard is another new option that when enabled offers a rather direct copy of a physical keyboard. This option even has a Fn key to enable other functions. This is great when you need to use the command prompt or even legacy apps.
We all know about the hilarious and frustrating results of the autocorrect function. Windows 8 has implemented an “insert” button on the keyboard that will accept an autocorrect if it is what you want. You can however keep typing and even hit the space bar with zero fear that your phone will mess with your text. After enough use you can even include full words just by hitting the insert button.
What I Think
The Windows 8 OS offers a lot to the mobile development world, but seems to be a bit iffy on a desktop. The messages are mixed between the statements that it is incomplete, really bad, or even just fine. I believe that in an expected Microsoft style, Windows 8 will offer a different feel that comes with a learning curve. Once you get used to the new set up it will be a great addition to your computer.
Windows 8 has proven to be a wonderful experience when used with a touchscreen and a little more temperamental with a key board and mouse. In the end we are looking at a beta version that is likely to be used to test out functions and see where improvement is needed. I look forward to the new OS, but I think I will hold off on using it right away. Mobile development and all of its mobile developers are getting pumped to see the new OS in action on a phone and at the moment this seems to be the ideal environment for our new addition to the Windows operating systems.