The pace of new technology grows more astounding every day, and its impact on daily life and the business world is undeniable. More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet and perform functions we used to only be able to do on a PC or laptop. As a result, smartphones and tablets are eating up the market for PCs, creating a serious problem for companies like Microsoft who specialize in PCs (and aren’t exactly viewed as pioneers anymore).
Microsoft has decided to duke it out with companies like Apple and Android with the release of Windows 8, which is almost a hybrid of the traditional Windows PC and hot new technology like tablets and smartphones. Let’s take a look at some of the features of Windows 8 and see how it stacks up against the competition.
New Windows 8 Features
- Flexibility. The new Windows 8 operating system is not only to be the soul of traditional x86 PCs, but it will also be the built-in operating system in ARM-based (a particular family of processors) tablets. This will make the operating system widely available to customers of both preferences, and allow Microsoft to take advantage of the growing tablet market.
- Tile-Based User Interface. The new start screen of Windows 8 is drastically different than the traditional desktop or start screen of Windows systems in the past. This aesthetically pleasing replacement is completely customizable via the control panel, and features “tiles,” rather than desktop shortcuts of the past. These tiles are beneficial because they allow the user to view real-time information from all applications on their start screen simultaneously, without having to open the individual apps.
- Pick Your Poison. Windows 8 was designed to operate via touch-screen or mouse and keyboard, allowing individual users to pick which they like better, and switch back and forth whenever they please (with the exception of the tablets, which only offer touch screen). If the user prefers to use the touch screen, they have the option of using the “enhanced digital keyboard,” or “thumbs keyboard,” both of which include an auto-correct program to replace misspelled words automatically. Microsoft has also designed the web navigation to work more cohesively when operated via touch screen. This includes smoother zooming, panning, scrolling, etc.
- “Charms.” Microsoft has introduced what they call charms to the new operating system and they are similar to the “Start” menu of previous Windows models. With a swipe of the finger, the charms (similar to desktop icons) will come up along one side of the screen, allowing the user to quickly and easily adjust settings and access shortcuts.
- “Enhanced Copy Experience.” Windows 8 allows users to maintain all of their copy functions across all applications in one dialogue box. This dialogue box will let users pause, resume, and stop any individual copy operation from this singular dialogue box.
- USB 3.0. Windows 8 features USB 3.0 ports which are up to 10x faster than the USB 2.0 counterparts. USB 3.0 devices are expected to take off rapidly in the near future.
- Support for Multi-Monitors. Microsoft has included multi-monitor features in the new operating system, whereas in the past one had to use third-party software to use dual monitors on a Windows PC. The new software makes it easy to stretch the taskbar and wallpaper, and move windows from monitor to monitor as desired.
It’s not too difficult to imagine where Microsoft got the inspiration behind a lot of these ideas; as mentioned above, Microsoft aims to compete with Apple and Android in their market. While the new technology isn’t exactly innovative, it certainly blurs the traditional lines between computers and smart phones and tablets. Many companies are already in the stages of implementing the new operating system, therefore learning the new way of Windows may become essential for professionals entering the workforce, and veterans of the workforce as well.
Andrew works for a computer training company called Phoenix TS that has facilities in the Maryland, DC & Virginia area.