Windows 8 – Premature aging!

Posted on September 28, 2011


Windows 8, well at least they have not tried to go all marketeee’s on us with another ‘Vista’ nomenclature.

That having been said there are far too many similarities to Vista’s early on-ramp messaging for comfort. For those of you who remember the Vista pre-launch marketing and launch events you will recall the predominance of UI frippery and consumer eye candy at the expense of enterprise features. That by no means mean there was any absence of great enterprise functionality, it was there en-mass. The parallels I am seeing are primarily the blinkered focus on the Metro UI in much that I read on the Microsoft blogs and in the press. Microsoft if you are reading, reflect on the Vista faux pas and do not neglect the enterprise for the sake of eye candy. I know few enterprise customers who are comforted by Metro at this stage of its evolution, regarding it as another control surface that needs to be managed to align enterprise users to purpose.

the Windows 8 Metro interface can be summed up as the adoption of all the inefficiency in design of the WM7 Tiles and side scroll nightmare of Apple’s iOS in a design and motion exercise that is already looking dated. This does not bode well for how it will look come the spring/early summer or whatever launch without significant changes.

For my part I believe Metro should be breaking the mould. In 12 months’ time when Windows 8 is into market its current interface will I believe be already dated. There needs to be an evolution into some 3rd Dimensional aspects of UI design moving off what is a very flat and passé 2D Graphic User Interface genre. There are many interfaces technologies available today that uses depth and prioritization amongst other parameters to allow more information and context to be presented intuitively as a fluid spacial experience.

If I was to take one scenario that is going to be well matured in 12 months’ time and that is the Kinect like experience that will positively yell out for 3D UI’s that a user can veritably swim at!

As for now we have an OS that is distinctly bi-polar, pulling users in two different directions with very different intents and characteristics. In some areas the technical functionality comes to blow’s and is clearly conflicting, this may be a Pre-BETA issue, but none the less these issue are likely to echo into release-ware. For now we have a conflict of interests in what has been presented and there needs to be greater clarity of purpose for Metro IF it has a place alongside the desktop.

The challenge is the form over function. Yes the market is driving the cross platform single OS concept and the practicalities are abounding for a vendor supporting multiple devices with one code base. I have used a tablet now for over 2 years now and I have NEVER travelled without my notebook for the proper business of computing, albeit 48 hours in London to give the experience a real test, it failed.

Despite many advocates of the Tablet revolution as a notebook replacement it is not. For middle to high demand users a tablet is not a current option. I cannot see on the horizon a Windows Tablet that is much more than a keyboard-less notebook with all the cumbersome weight and bulk that is demanded to deliver the computing power with sub 8 hour battery life. The Samsung pre-release freebie given out at Microsoft’s Build conference is going in the right direction.

In summary, I can understand the temptation to get the OS into the wild for real-world feedback on the UI and take a temperature check on the fundamental structure before the functional creases are all ironed out. The problem is It may have been self-defeating as the Metro UI feels clunky and ‘stuck on’ to what is perhaps a desirable evolution, not revolution, of the desktop. For now the temperature check is reading tepid and cooling.