I just came off reading a rather pessimistic editorial over at Michael Maceâ€™s Mobile Opportunity blog, where he predicts that Windows 8 will fail to set the world on fire.
Of course the ex-Palm VP of product planning would know quite a bit about failure, from first hand experience , but I found his arguments flawed, as it is predicated on Windows 8 offering a poor mouse and keyboard experience and therefore being a step backwards for productivity users.
The truth of course is that Windows 8 is not for productivity workers, but for consumption. Enterprise users will not get Windows 8 this year, or even next. They will stick to Windows 7 and the start menu for some time to come.
Windows 8 is aimed at consumers looking to upgrade their PC experience (but not their existing PCs) and these days that means adding touch. And when your laptop (who uses a desktop these days) is touch enabled all Windows 8 usability issues disappear (see video above), and the new Start menu with its live tiles all make perfect sense.
It seems Acer has read my mind, as they have just released a perfectly timed announcement of their Windows 8 series, and all three categories of devices are touch enabled. There is the Acer Aspire S7 ultrabook, the Acer Iconia W700 dockable tablet and Acer Aspire 7600U, All in One, which folds flat into a Surface analogue.
While all of these X86-based devices can be used for work, they are directly aimed at the home market, and as soon as Metro apps for Facebook, Netflix and Hulu come along, consumers will convert to the Metro interface and spend most of their time there.
The Live Tiles also elevate the OS from just chrome for apps to an important part of the experience, alerting users of what’s happening in their social networks, and acting as bookmarks to websites. Windows 8 will once again become a platform, rather than a mere place where you run your browser.
Who are the winners? The OEMs, who get to sell a whole new set of hardware at a premium because it is touch enabled. Microsoft of course because they have managed to step into the mobile future. Windows Phone by association. Developers because they will have a vastly expanded audience to address with their apps. The users of course because they will have the best of both worlds.
Who will lose? The iPad certainly, and any Android tablets. Firefox and Chrome, due to IE10 deep integration.
Given that the winners vastly outnumber the losers I think the chances of a good outcome by Q 2 2013 is pretty high.
What do our readers think of Microsoftâ€™s chances of success with Windows 8, and of touch screen ultra-books in any case? Let us know below.