As promised, Microsoft released the Developer Preview of its next OS, still called Windows 8 (until someone at Microsoft denies the name like the last time Ballmer referred to it as Windows 8). Thisismynext was one of the lucky review houses to get one of Redmond’s i5 tablets and did a nice little impressions piece, complete with a 6-minute video.
I’ll start with the most painful part: my impression from the video is that it’s not horrible. It’s a somewhat thoughtful extrapolation of its Windows Phone 7 UI that I thought would squarely faceplant. I think there’s a ton of knitting left to be done between the “Tiles” and “Desktop” metaphors, which is a major knock mentioned in the review’s conclusion, but it’s getting there. There’s more than a few missed swipes in the video, complete with “This should…” disclaimers, but I’m past knocking these kinds of things now. Although Apple would never release a developer build that was so rough around the edges, I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that everyone else does and that my expectations have been unrealistically heightened by Apple’s examples.
That said, there are some passages in the review that stick out. I’d have nothing else to do with my time if I didn’t call them out with some snark:
However, one thing that’s been totally revamped is Task Manager, and it’s a good thing, too, because there doesn’t seem to be any other way to close open Metro-style apps when you want to. By default, the Task Manager does that and nothing else — just invokes the good ol’ End Task on apps to make them stop sucking down resources.
Just like Android. What happened to Cntl-Alt-Del?
The tablet also comes with a Wacom digitizer and stylus — there’s a specific handwriting input section in the keyboard, and handwriting to text conversion worked surprisingly well.
I have this image of a zombie Bill Gates staggering towards me with a 7 lb. tablet and stylus clutched in his decomposing hands moaning: “Input…INPUT!!”
Yes, Windows 8 will have its own app store. It’s not out today with the Developer Preview, and we don’t have any indication of when it will arrive — we were simply told “closer to launch” and that you’ll be able to install each app on up to five Windows 8 PCs when it comes.
I bet this will totally simplify the registration process to the point where people will only think about killing themselves once during an Office install.
Developers should also note that there’ll be a hefty certification process if you want to get your app in the store, but also that Microsoft’s planning to be completely transparent about where in the queue you are.
Considering all the shit that Apple has gotten about its OS’s App Stores over the last half-decade, this promises to be an absolute fucking hoot. I’d say the Windows Phone 7 experience will have prepared them, but who are we shitting? There’s like 22 total third-party apps on that platform.
We also saw one field in the Store preview that gave us pause — each app has a field for Supported Architecture, including x86, x64, and/or ARM.
That should simplify things. Also: BWHAHAHAHAHA!
Powered by a 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M processor and a 64GB solid state drive, the system is absolutely no slouch on performance.
I imagine not. Nothing like making a statement about support for legacy hardware right out of the gate. And finally:
If we’re going to be totally honest though, we’d describe Windows 8 right now as incoherent and contradictory.
That’s what I get for being charitable.