It’ll probably be another year or so before Microsoft is ready to officially release Windows 8, but leaked copies of an early build of the system have been making the rounds for the past few weeks and a handful of people have been kicking the tires to see what makes the OS tick. One thing that’s becoming clear is that Microsoft is attempting to make Windows 8 much more touchscreen-friendly, making the next-gen operating system easier to use on slate and tablet style computers than Windows 7.
Now a video has popped up showing a version of the Windows 8 settings panel which has been optimized for touch. In fact, the user interface looks a lot like the Metro UI you’d find on a Windows Phone 7 device.
There’s a series of panels for each setting, and while the demo video shows how you can move from one to the next with a mouse cursor, I’d be surprised if the system didn’t support finger-swiping motions when used with a touchscreen. There are also a series of on/off switches under some menus which should let you toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, or mobile broadband settings with a single tap.
You can check out the video below.
“Finger” doesn’t mean “touch”. “Finger” doesn’t mean “touch”. “Finger” doesn’t mean “touch”. OK… If you repeat anything 3 times then it solves the problem. Magic!
This is “finger-friendly”, but resistive and active digitizers that easily support the use of a stylus or digital pen do pretty well with the current settings panel. Last time I checked, these were forms of “touch screens”, unless we now have to redefine “touch screen” to mean only “finger touch screen” and exclude these long-standing technologies and their applications just to keep the misappropriation of “tablet” propped up.
Also, leverage your creative imagination, or at least honor the context. Doesn’t Microsoft have the market cornered on of the only non-touch interfaces (hardware+software) on the planet, one which is wildly popular and well regarded? Isn’t it entirely possible that this is in fact “touchless-friendly” more than it is touch friendly? Hmmm….
Mac OS X and Linux may have something to say on whether Microsoft has completely cornered the market on non-touch on the planet. Since Microsoft may heavily dominate but they don’t have a monopoly.
Touch Friendly though generally has added meaning these days to encompass gesture control and multi-touch support, which desktop OS have traditionally not supported well.
Like you have to use the add-on “Grab and Drag” to even add touch scrolling, flick gestures, and Momentum scrolling in Firefox but good luck getting that kind of support with anything else.
While these features do tend to emphasis, as you put it, “finger-friendly” usage. Not all such functionality is so much confined to finger input but rather is just easier to use with fingers, such as with multi-touch controls.
Many single finger controls are actually interchangeable with stylus/pen and even mouse controls. The other methods of input are just generally more accurate than finger input and you are just less likely to use gesture controls with something besides your finger. Though gesture controls can increase the functionality of the other input methods as well.
But the point is Windows 8 is not only going to be used on ARM systems but also is intended to compete in the tablet market, where touch friendly usage, which also includes input methods other than just fingers, is much more preferable to “touchless friendly” usage.
So it seems Windows 8 will become more touch friendly than previous Windows iterations, even if it is still built upon a “touchless friendly” optimized OS.
Though with the increasing number of hybrid offerings, the point may become more or less moot other than limiting the reasons why some may choose to use multiple OS for different usage scenarios.
I think people are way off on Windows 8 launch. My prediction sees it coming a lot sooner than that. They have no choice. Get it out now or get left behind. It’s going to be on tablets before the end of the year. It’s not like Android 3.0 which is probably worse than the current win 8 build.
Last I’d heard, we should be able to expect a public beta later this year, but we probably won’t see consumer devices shipping with Win8 until early 2012 at the soonest. Of course, these things are always subject to change… or to just flat out being wrong. Right not we only have rumors to go on. 🙂
Reportedly they are pushing for a release later this year but that may be too optimistic and given Windows bad track record in the tablet market, they can ill afford to release anything less than a fully functional final product.
Besides they got some time as other competing OS’s are also still far from complete and/or need time to develop apps to make them useful compared to alternatives… Along with the time needed before the next Gen ARM processors come out to deliver the performance needed to run more powerful OS like Windows 8 well.
Cyber you have been MIA. I thought maybe you launched a blog or something.
I can’t recall off the top of my head the time between Win 7 and Vista, but just browsing, it looks like that was 2 years. Win 7 was about 2009, so it’s not a stretch to think they could do Win 8 soon.
I personally think that already M$ is losing out huge to Android. Next is Chrome OS in summer so their balls are to the wall. They have to do something imo.
It’s interesting none the less. I just think M$ needs to be in tablets immediately and I’m sure they have prioritized this. They need an Apple like ecosystem and I’m sure that’s where it’s at. Apple, Google and M$. What a lovely world that would be 😉
Oh, I’ve been around. We just haven’t discussed anything for awhile 😛
Though, I agree M$ is losing out in the mobile market right now but Windows 8 isn’t likely to so much directly compete with other mobile operating systems as just offer a more capable alternative. But it’s the extent/range of the usefulness of each OS in which they will compete.
One thing to consider is that besides the advantages of being touch optimized and having a large choice of apps, the reasons iOS and Android dominate is because they can run well on limited hardware that would not adequately run more powerful operating systems and that has excluded more powerful operating systems from being a choice for ARM systems up till now.
But as ARM systems start to rival low end x86 performance range means people can now have more choices in what operating systems they can run on them and the limitations of iOS and Android can be Windows 8 best selling points. While being able to run regular Windows software can easily rival the appeal of either iOS or Android’s number of apps.
So one key thing they would have to wait for anyway is the next gen ARM systems to come out to make this all practical…
Another thing to consider is the market seems to moving towards more convergence and we may see more multi-purpose devices that can be configured as needed. So Windows 8 will also have to work well on more than just tablets or at least additional devices like netbooks, which ARM systems will also start to compete with as well.
Comments are closed.