25The first look at Windows 8, Microsoft had promised and that’s what it delivered in Bangalore over the weekend. The latest version of the world’s most popular operating system has got a makeover. So much has changed since Windows 7 that Microsoft corporate VP (Windows development) Jon DeVaan, who has seen every Windows launch so far, described the upcoming one as a “generational shift”. Here are five features to watch out for when Windows 8 hits the stores on October 26.
All new interface
When you start a Windows 8 device, the screen that comes up is unlike anything that you have seen (picture above). The tiles can be clicked or touched (if you have a touch-enabled monitor) to launch applications. The best part: every computer that runs Windows 7 will run Windows 8 with the option of switching to the traditional interface if the learning curve gets too steep.
Same OS for computer,
phone and tablet
Thanks to touch support, Windows 8 is not just for your desktop and laptop but also for your phone and tablet. If all your devices run on Windows 8, you should not have to worry about compatibility, ever. Windows 8 phones by Nokia, HTC, Samsung and other companies are on the way. The hush-hush Microsoft Surface tablet (picture right) will also launch soon.
App is the new friendly name for a programme and Windows Store (picture left) is the new friendly way of installing it. You click a tile to go to the store and then click an app to install it, like you do on your Android or Apple phone. No more calling up your techie friend to find out where the .exe file is. And if you are the techie friend, you can still potter around with .exe files. But then you already knew that, right?
You make changes to a file on your office desktop, continue working on it on your tablet during your commute home and finish your work on your home laptop. No emailing or copying on pendrive required. Log in to your Microsoft account and it will automatically synchronise various types of data between your devices. Subscription to Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service is built-in.
Windows 8 will come with its own anti-virus programme and other security features. So you won’t need to buy an anti-virus programme along with a computer and upgrade its subscription every year. The security features plus the Windows Store and online integration spell bad news for pirates. A cracked copy of Windows 8 with all the goodies will be hard to come by.
Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik spoke on Windows 8, Microsoft Store and more with t2 at the Windows 8 AppFest in Bangalore on Friday
Is there a learning curve for Windows 8?
People have adapted much faster to Windows 8 than all the previous Windows. Our studies have shown the same thing. It is very intuitive. People can understand the basic features and functions very quickly. You only need to look at smartphones to realise how adept we are in learning how a system works without the help of a manual. And there’s still the traditional Windows interface to fall back on.
Android and Apple gadgets often arrive late in India. Will it be the same for Windows 8?
On our launch day (October 26), you’ll see a whole set of models from multiple manufacturers, as good as anywhere else in the world. I don’t think there will be any time lag in terms of devices. There will be a far greater choice of models and products in India than in some other countries. India is a very important market for Microsoft. For Windows 7, there were a few limited products, from a price perspective. Now, the ability to differentiate on the hardware side is huge. You can have all-in-one touch panels, laptops, convertibles…
Are you going to price Windows 8 lower to discourage piracy?
I don’t think piracy is primarily a cost issue. We will continue to work with the industry and law enforcement agencies to curb piracy. Windows 8 will require activation and you would need an id to download apps. The only thing you won’t need an id for is the Windows 7-like desktop environment. We are also working closely with the OEMs. Sony, for instance, will not sell any computer without an OS. Unfortunately, some others will, leaving the door open for piracy.
Are you happy with the government’s role in curbing piracy?
I think we have the right set of laws. The enforcement is patchy… The industry and trade associations are doing their bit. People are slowly understanding that piracy is not good.
Are you happy with the apps being developed in India for Windows 8?
In an event like the AppFest, we are obviously going to get a mixed bag. But overall, the quality of apps has improved over time. The apps that have been included in the Windows Store over the last couple of months have been exceptional. For instance, I am very excited about the MakeMyTrip app. It is well integrated with the Windows 8 platform. The response from companies has been very good given that we released the OS to them only about a month back. But there are also some apps that I do not understand the purpose of.