Windows 8 – My first hands on

Here are my first impressions towards Windows 8 after trying it briefly for the first time at a retail store.

Launching / using apps

Apps open full screen – no more taskbar at the bottom at all times – at least in the new “Modern UI”. Thanks to what I had seen online, I knew some of the new basic OS functions, such as hitting the Windows key to get back to the home screen.

Two apps can be shown on screen at once, side by side, with one app taking 1/4 of the screen, and the other app the other 3/4. No half and half, at least yet [perhaps in Windows 9 it’ll be implemented – or in a Windows 8 service pack]. This varying window size app display is reminiscent of another platform… How it works:

  • With an email app and a web browser opened side-by-side, if the email app has 1/4 of the screen, only individual message sender and subject lines are visible, along with other controls. Clicking a particular message shifts the display to show the conversation in that entire 1/4 screen.
  • Pulling the email app’s border to re-size it to 3/4 of the screen displays both the list of messages, and the conversation in one view.

Pretty much exactly how multi-device supported apps are designed for Android using Fragments, with the “1/4 screen” scenario in use on small-screened devices such as phones, and the “3/4 screen” scenario in use on bigger screens, like tablets and TVs.

Closing apps

I couldn’t remember / figure out how to close apps. Turns out you have to click, hold, and drag down [or swipe down on a touch screen], from the top of the screen, while in an app. Seems that soon, dedicated close buttons [and maximize/minimize buttons] will be a thing of the past, in favor of gestures.

Final thoughts

At first glance, it seems that Windows 8 differentiates itself from other platforms with its new home screen, the manor in which apps can be displayed, and the new Windows Store / ecosystem. For my needs, I don’t find it to be worth the upgrade price [no, not even the $15 “steal” that was temporarily available]. I’m comfortably positioned into the Google/Android ecosystem for now, and have no current interest in the various other ecosystems available, for various reasons. That said, I don’t see Windows disappearing from the market any time soon, mainly due to the fact that practically all PCs ship with the OS. But since tablets are dominating PC sales, it’ll be interesting to see how much phone/tablet market share Microsoft can obtain, seeing as Android currently has a whopping 75% market share, while iOS has 14%.


~ by Fresh on November 4, 2012.

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