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Weekly Roundup 15th July 2011 – Windows 8

Win7 LogoWindows 8 is on it’s way – or at least we’ve started getting some clearer information about what to expect and when. The release date for Windows 8 has always been predicted to be in 2012 and this week Steve Balmer confirmed that prediction (although he didn’t go as far as saying when exactly in 2012 it would be – we think probably the back end).

But what are we to expect from the successor to one of our favourite operating systems of all time?

With Windows 8 Microsoft have had to do something special. Windows has been in the cross-hairs of the likes of Google and Apple for some time and we predict that the desktop operating system (OS) market is not going to be as clearly defined in the coming decade as it has been for the last two. The cloud, smart-phones, tablets and hybrid devices are all eroding the market for traditional PCs and with that the traditional operating system. Microsoft, in their own words, are hoping to re-imagine Windows: “a Windows 8-based PC is really a new kind of device, one that scales from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse.”

What we’re looking at is a single OS that will span multiple devices. An OS that will sit happily on your desktop PC, for use with a mouse and keyboard, but equally happily on your smart-phone or tablet, for touchscreen use. We’re looking at a single interface that will unify your currently distinct devices and we’re looking at an OS that will integrate seamlessly with cloud based services to share data between those devices. All very exciting if Microsoft can get it right!

Microsoft have confirmed a load of performance and usability features including improved multimedia support, streamlined help and support features and faster boot and shutdown times. We’ll also get the obvious security enhancements and for business users some nice productivity and portability features. However, Microsoft have also confirmed that they plan to heavily push the new OS as a gaming platform which has the potential to reinvigorate the flagging PC gaming market and push sales of desktop machines.

With any new Windows operating system comes the usual problems of deciding if and when to upgrade. However Microsoft have confirmed their intentions in keeping the system requirements flat or reducing them over time. This means that Windows 8 will not require new hardware when it’s released which can only help in smoothing the transition (and potentially paving the way for smaller, iterative OS releases much like OSX on the Mac). Of course IT managers will still be keen to ensure there is enough there to warrant an upgrade, when many businesses are still happy running XP, but at least hardware is one less problem to worry about.

Posted on by Tim
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