Microsoft has released Windows 8 Release Beta for download. I dutifully proceeded to fire up my Windows 8 Virtual Machine (Parallels Desktop for Mac) and applied the update.
The update went smoothly. The Parallels Tools add-on installed without a problem. Everything is ready to go, right? Well, not so much. What I was left with was still the Metro User Interface (UI).
The Metro UI represents a radical departure from the “traditional” Windows UI we have come to not necessarily love, but at least understand. Of course, you can treat it optimistically as a never-ending Easter Egg hunt as you try to figure out how to perform basic functions like shutting down the system. Imagine my surprise when I first accidentally bumped the mouse cursor against the right side of the desktop window and a little pop-out dashboard appeared. After a number of “bumps” to allow me to scan the icons, I noticed the little “Power” icon nesstled at the bottom right of the dashboard.
Why such a radical shift? Is Microsoft attempting to blend it’s mobile environment with the PC environment? Is this a precursor to the launch of touch capable PCs as a standard instead of a oddity? Microsoft has been on the public “back burner” for a while now as Apple and Android seem to garner the buzz. What better way to infuse use of the Microsoft/Nokia mobile experience that to provide a unified UI between the phone and the desktop? Isn’t Apple moving in the same direction with the latest Mac OS X Lion offering?
The adoption of Windows 8 will be implicit rather than explicit. The new OS will move into the public arena as old PCs running Windows 7 or earlier are replaced with new PCs running Windows 8. I don’t know if this can be considered adoption or mandate since one is voluntary and the other is not.
While I am primarily a Mac/iOS and Linux user, I hope Microsoft can succeed. Less competition in the world of Operating Systems is not a good thing. Each different OS challenges it’s counterparts to stretch for the high ground. Let’s keep them stretching.