Windows 8: Trying to be Everything to Everyone?

Last night, I finally downloaded and checked out the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in a virtual machine. I’ve been interested to see where Microsoft’s heading with Metro UI integration and was pretty pumped to grease the wheels.

I wasn’t irrecoverably disappointed, but I wasn’t blown out of the water.

The experience between a desktop and a tablet isn’t the same, and I think Windows 8 is trying to be everything to every device. It might have partially been the performance of the virtual machine I was running, but some of the gestures (dragging down from the top of the screen, exiting Metro apps, etc.) just weren’t intuitive with a mouse and keyboard. And yeah, you can switch back to Windows Explorer, but switching between two completely different modes shouldn’t even be necessary.

Much more conducive for touch instead of click.

I guess this comes down to the philosophy of differences in hardware – I’m not sold on the model of having one operating system for desktop and tablet. This is where I think Apple got it right with the breakdown between iOS and OS X. It’s a seamless enough experience, but they’re also different enough. And yes, the gap between those differences eventually needs to narrow, but the release cycle is doing that incrementally, not all at once.

That said, I’m excited about the potential for Windows 8 on a tablet. I’ve never used it on a tablet yet, but I can see things making a lot more sense in that form factor. I like Metro UI and I like Microsoft’s intentions, I just think they need to draw the line between desktop and tablet a little clearer.

Thoughts? Have you used Windows 8 on a tablet before?

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