The Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released on February 29, 2012. Within the first 24 hours it reached 1 million downloads. Prior to the Consumer Preview, the Developer Preview edition had over 3 million downloads in a 3 month span. Since Gate3 is part of those statistics, we will share some of our thoughts.
We downloaded the .ISO from the Microsoft website and installed on a VMWare Virtual Machine (VM). The VM had the following specs: AMD B97 X4 Processor, 2Gb of Ram, 60Gb harddrive, and an Ethernet internet connection.
The look and feel of the installer was the same as the installer of Windows Vista and Windows7. The overall progress is very simple to follow. Since our tests were performed on a VM we were not able to try some of the new features such as having a task-bar on multiple monitors and support for ARM hardware. In addition, Microsoft claims Windows 8 has drastically improved performance and reliability; however this was not benchmarked either.
Tile User Interface
Users will be very surprised at how different the new metro theme has been designed. If you have used an Android phone, an iPhone, Windows phone or an Xbox360 you will probably like the block style user interface, (UI). Microsoft is pushing this Metro style theme on all their devices so that consumers will have a much more user-friendly interface.
The interface is completely different to say the least. At first user might be a bit lost due to the fact that, the way of searching for application has been redesigned. Below is the image of the new cleaner desktop. (Right Image) Applications will have the desktop icons installed here as well as the tile on the start page.
Windows Market Place
Microsoft has a marketplace for the Windows Phone 7 to compete with Apple and Android’s marketplace. However it has not flourished as fast as they would have liked. So now with Windows 8 they will have a marketplace for desktop apps to compete with Apple. This provides more opportunity for developers to publish their Metro-Style Apps. The same market will be used for Windows Phone as well as for the desktop.
Also the way that we have been installing in windows vista and 7 still works as well. This Windows 7 software install has not changed, excpet for the UI.
For those fond of Windows new features, I think this is the moment we have been waiting for. Microsoft took Roaming Profiles to brand new level, using your “live account” you can log in to any computer with the same account settings you used on any previous computers you have logged in to. Even the Windows Phone will work splendid with this, as all the live tiles you have on your phone will sync with the tiles on the Windows 8 PC.
For anyone who has used an Xbox, the user interface of Windows 8 will be very familiar. The new Windows 8 has the ability to support touch interface; which users will be able to use aside from their mouse and keyboard. This feature will only be on those devices that support this function, not all Windows 8 devices will support this. Below is a link to get a head start on the gestures that Windows 8 will incorporate to their OS.
Windows To Go
The “Windows To Go” feature allows Windows 8 Enterprise to boot from a USB drive. The users, settings, files, and applications will be shown when one boots from the USB drive. This feature is designed to work with both 2.0 and 3.0 USB. If you do happen to have a live account; you can load your account information on to a Windows 8 device from the cloud. This is a great feature to ensure that all of your applications are on all of Windows 8 devices you have used.
In all, we just have to hope the general public is ready for new changes. So far the Windows Phone has not progressed as well as Microsoft would have liked, but this might only mean that we have not used the new metro style products to their fullest potential. Microsoft is hopeful once the general public starts using the new Metro theme they will accept this concept once it is fully integrated in the new Windows Phone system.