Windows 8 is fantastic, in my opinion. The Metro interface is by far the best change I’ve seen in an operating system. It feels current and really bridges the gap between desktop and mobile computing. What it’s really missing are the Metro versions of proprietary software packages.
In my last article I noted how amazing using the Metro interface was and what a big change it is from desktop view. I even thought that it was better to just forget everything you knew about computers and embrace the new tiled layout.
But I was wrong.
Once I installed my external applications I realised that Windows 8 does not embrace the Metro format, but rather runs it side-by-side with desktop. The issue here is that there aren’t enough applications made specifically for Windows 8. The list is small, but there are some Microsoft-owned applications like Skype that predictably have Metro versions available.
Lost in translation
So what’s the big deal? Why can’t you just use the desktop mode? Here’s the issue. Metro is the future in Microsoft’s opinion, not the desktop. In a few years, most applications will be made for Metro and the desktop may vanish completely, for some. Windows 8 is a quiet revolution, but it’s still in a difficult transition as it aims for the mainstream. It’s like Blu-ray a few years ago, a great innovation but nothing yet to do with it. All apps work in Windows 8 because they have desktop compatibility. The real benefits come with using apps in Metro. Desktop mode is essentially Windows 7 without a start button. Where’s the fun in that?
Another awkward task is copying files. Yes, I can do that in desktop mode. Desktop is not slow, ugly or even clunky. I am just sad to leave metro. Metro is sleek, new and the best OS overlay I’ve seen in a while. It’s a shame that we don’t get to use it for all our tasks.
Windows 8 might just be the push that Microsoft needs. It is exemplary in that you can run any application on a tablet. I’m sure some are salivating at the thought of running full Photoshop or Illustrator on a tablet. This truly is a leg up on Android. This gap that Microsoft is bridging is imperative. And as such, we’re now at an awkward transition with technology. Our phones are getting larger, computers are getting smaller and tablets are there to fill in the gaps. We are getting to the point where a cellphone and computer are interchangeable, but it is still some time until we reach that point
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