If you were only allowed to read one piece of tech news today, I’d bet you’d read up on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The beta became available today, though we were lucky enough to go hands-on with the OS for the past week or so, and people can’t stop talking about it.
Windows 8 is a merging of old with new. A Metro UI offers up live tiles much like Windows Phone, but there are still some apps that require the old-school XP interface, sending you directly into the past when you least expect it.
For John and I, that’s our biggest concern. Metro looks wonderful, Bing’s HTML5 apps are crisp, smooth, and engaging, and the combination of bezel gestures and contracts (which is, essentially, a system that lets one app’s API communicate with another) makes the whole system intuitively navigable.
Getting thrown into XP, then, becomes even more awful. John brought up the important point, though, that Microsoft needs to maintain its relationships with big enterprise app developers and programs that expect their products to work the same way they did last year. Remember, we’re introducing an entirely new set of tools to Windows devs with this release, and the ones who’ve been around for forever will need time to transition.
And to an extent, so will the consumer. Change can be hard, right? But as I said, we’re hoping that this is just a step in the right direction rather than a vision realized.