I’ve been using Windows 8 since the last month, so I thought of reviewing it. As this is my first critique, I want you to correct me if I go wrong somewhere, like being too subjective, speaking only good or only bad.
I am going to write from the four perspectives, the creator’s perspective, the artifact’s perspective, the user’s perspective, and the socio-cultural perspective.
The makers of Windows 8 were inclined to create something new, which was intended to be a completely new design of windows. In this approach, they miscalculated the usefulness of the system. They were inclined to give the PC and the Tablet experience in a single device. It is their attempt to make a windows ecosystem of devices such as the tablets, PC and the smartphones. They wanted to keep the old windows functionality as it is is used by a lot of people and only thing that was new was the “Live Tile” interface. They assumed that the loyal users of Windows will not hesitate to learn the new system. They wanted to introduce the world of the light weight apps on the PC along with the exiting third party software application. Focus on entertainment was greatly on the minds of the makers while they designed Windows 8.
Windows 8 has both the primitive desktop and a “Live Tile” interfaces which gives it capabilities of both the PC and the Tablet. The Operating System is mainly designed for touchscreen PCs. It becomes challenging to use it on a non touchscreen PCs, but there is a plethora of hardware available in the market which makes the experience less complicated. Imagine a tablet kept in front of the screen of your PC. you are using the tablet when you want, but when you want to use the PC, you are keeping the tablet aside. This is what you do while using Windows 8. The Live Tile interface is very good in displaying the data quickly. It readily provides information of your emails, news, IM, facebook, etc. on the live tile interface. You can personalize the tiles as you want. Performance wise, Windows 8 does a pretty decent job. The system boots up faster because when you shut down the PC, the system image is stored, which quickly loads into the system while you boot up. The applications load and run faster. The system takes up less resources to run, so it can efficiently run on a machine running with Windows XP. The Task Manager is also revamped. It gives precise and sorted information of the processes and applications running and the resources being used including the network usage.
The user is expected to have willingness to learn using the new OS as this system is a complete overhaul. You will feel that is is just a tablet interface over Windows 7 with a missing Start button. It is hard for the user to eat with chopsticks if he/she is habituated to eat with spoon and fork. This OS has lot of new shortcuts, tips and tricks to navigate through, which takes some time to find. Once you know it, it is not a tough experience. We expect the computer systems to be transparent, but as Windows 8 expects the user to periodically switch between the interfaces, it takes away the attention of the user from the work he is doing. New users end up in undiscovered places trying to do something on the interface, which adds to the frustrations. Users should have most of their applications (frequently used) on the desktop. Mostly, the important applications run in the desktop environment so as the users start the PC, most of the times they end up in going to the desktop environment without using the live tiles. The fun part is apps. It is a new experience for Windows users having apps they usually play on their tablets and their phone. They load faster, take less memory and creates a nice entertainment experience. Considering the users point of view regarding the tablet and PC on the same device, most of the users don’t want a big tablet or a small PC.
Windows 8 is giving rise to a new era of the PC revolution. With the rise of Windows 8 a multitude of devices are coming out in the market like new tablets and PC. There is introduction of new PC configurations form a lot of PC manufacturers like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Sony with touch screens and tablets having Windows 8. If this revolution is widely accepted it will question the existence of the mouse as the pointing business will be handed over to the mouse. Hybrid devices coming out as the one shown below also start hitting the market serving the purposes of entertainment and productive work on the tablets and the PC altogether in one single device. With operating systems like Windows 8 it is clear that entertainment is a very important focus of tomorrows systems as in Windows 8, we can see that the tile display has a lot of features of entertainment.
In conclusion, Windows 8 is a completely new PC experience. It gives a nice mix of the tablet and the PC, but, the interfaces are very much detached to give a unified experience. It is faster than the previous versions of the Windows. It is definitely not recommended for non touch screen PCs. It is very different than the previous interfaces of windows. If you are very much geeky and want to try it out, it is fun exploring, but if you love the old windows interfaces, you will end up disliking it.