Windows 8: Do the Pros Outweigh the Cons?

Guest blogger Jared Moats writes:

Microsoft will be releasing its newest iteration of the Windows operating system on October 26th to much consumer anticipation. Three years have passed since the release of Windows 7, so Windows fans are itching for a new operating system to wrap their hands around. Although a new operating system is very much desired by everyone who likes the shiny and the new, many people — whether they’ve experienced the consumer preview or not — have already decided if they think Windows 8 will be an impressive feat or a complete dud. But for those who haven’t yet been influenced by one camp or the other, we’ll take a peek at the pros and cons of Windows 8 so that the choice to upgrade may be that much easier.

Con: No Start Button

Since Windows 95, the Start button has been with us, and is something that some might argue has made Windows Windows. The Start button is even where the Microsoft logo has been harbored for 17 years. To many users, it seems sacreligious to eliminate such a long-lasting icon so unceremoniously. Does Microsoft have no respect for tradition and nostalgia?

Con: New Interface

I hope everybody has seen the video where Chris Pirillo’s father tries the consumer preview of Windows 8 for the first time (and, if not, it’s included just above). In this video, Mr. Pirillo uses the preview of the operating system with a look of confusion on his face the entire time. He managed to ditch the Metro UI early in the video and find the desktop, but he could not find his way back to the Start menu. Several videos have arisen on YouTube with people having the same result: average consumers do not know how to find their way around the new interface. This steers Windows 8 toward catastrophe and begs a single question: Who would own a computer that he or she cannot use? I see a lot of product returns in Microsoft’s future unless the new interface somehow becomes more obvious by October 26th.

Con: Poor Desktop Support

This is another issue with the new Windows 8 interface. The latest preview still feels like it was made with a tablet in mind and ported to a desktop later. Windows 8 does work with a keyboard and mouse, but it does not flow well. Consumers seem to be more lost when average input devices are put in their hands than when they use a computer with a touch screen. Microsoft is trying to make an operating system that can be used across all devices, but it seems that more work needs to be done before the experience is enjoyable on every device.

Pro: Easy Application Development Process

It is very easy to develop Metro applications for Windows 8. The only languages a developer would need to know are JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5. These languages are simple and quick, which means developers will create new applications efficiently.

Pro: Microsoft App Store

Microsoft is releasing its own App Store along with Windows 8. Not only will developers be able to create apps quickly, but now they all have a central hub through which to distribute them. Despite how good the Microsoft App Store sounds, one must remember that Microsoft has tried something like this before and failed. Will this be another flop?

Pro: Improved Task Manager

The Task Manager in Windows 8 has been majorly improved with a focus on ease of use for regular users without reducing its usefulness for power users. For regular users, the interface has been better organized and designed to be more intuitive. Upon startup, the only thing the user will see is a list of running applications and applications that are not responding. The Processes, Services, Performance, Networking, and Users tabs have been stowed out of sight. Now you can just select an application and click End Task, and the application immediately closes without prompting. Power users can click More Details and an improved selection of the aforementioned tabs will be displayed.

Conclusion

This is a small list of what I believe are the most important pros and cons of Windows 8. There are numerous more improvements to the operating system, but there are also many more flaws. We can only hope that Microsoft continues to improve Windows 8 until its release on October 26th. What do you think the pros and cons of Windows 8 are? If you were in the developer seat, what would you improve? Let us know in the comments.

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