There’s been a lot of discussion on the internet predicting the success of Windows 8, and I can’t help but insert my thoughts into the discussion.
I think the battle will be fought with the tablet form factor, and the new and important technology that Microsoft is releasing is WinRT.
What is WinRT?
The lower power (ARM) devices running Windows 8 will only support WinRT, whereas the more powerful devices (such as laptops and desktops) will also have the traditional Windows Desktop.
Why are WinRT devices important?
The iPad has had a good head start and there’s a lot of ground for Microsoft to cover here. The quality of the Android tablets doesn’t seem to be there (at the right price point) and the OS is not quite there either, although it’s getting very close.
However, it’s a big market, and there are a few areas where Windows 8 is strong.
- Price. If rumours are to be believed, the Surface will launch at $199. This is unbelievably cheap given the specs of the device.
- Enterprise. With WinRT, IT departments will be able to bypass the app store, and load their applications directly on to the device. Allowing IT staff to manage tablets as just another Windows device will be a good reason to choose Windows 8 for field staff or corporate types.
- Azure. WinRT devices are going to have relatively low storage capacity, so cheap scalable storage in the Microsoft cloud compliments this limitation. Push notifications, and the ServiceBus in Azure should also play well together. The Media Services piece provides an easy to consume set of services to facilitate video content. WinRT devices will be internet devices, and Microsoft have a serious internet capability to back this up.
Not another Vista?
My concern is not that this will be another Vista, I think there is some real benefit to this OS. It’s faster and leaner than previous versions, and I’ve enjoyed using it over the past few days.
My concern is that it’ll be another Windows Phone 7. An OS that looked really promising – with some brilliant ideas, but ultimately failed to deliver high quality applications. Consumers will decide whether Windows 8 is any good based on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, eBay and YouTube apps. Developers will ultimately make or break this.