Well having been shrouded in much secrecy Windows 8 finally came to the table yesterday. BTW I do mean shrouded in secrecy. Even as a Microsoft MVP, we have been kept away from getting a glimpse. Strange as I would have thought that getting your core evangelists on board to tell the world but alias no, like everyone else we have to attend Microsoft Build, which is the new trendy name for its latest developer conference.
On top of the agenda of course was Windows 8, which I am glad to say I’ve been looking forward to for some time. Initially downloadable as a “Developer Release” this version does NOT have all the bits yet and as such it might (does) seem a bit clunky, especially if you don’t have a touch enabled PC. Which let’s face is the vast majority of the population does not (except the IPhone or Ipad of course). First impressions! It’s very Windows phone(ish), so if you’re not a fan then watch out.
However that said my initial reaction is generally good. The installation process on a 64bit Dell Studio XPS was smooth. In terms of hardware requirements MS are not saying very much other than it will run on anything fairly modern. However to get the full functionality you will need a Touch enabled device with technologies like USB3 and a face recognition capable camera etc. In terms of the desktop experience…I like the tiles, although once in an application, if you don’t have touch it’s pretty difficult to get out of. I’m sure they will fix this though.
Once you have access to the desktop things start to look familiar, the start menu (now a square) the taskbar (yawn, come on guy’s it’s almost 7 years old). However I do like the new task manager, which makes me want to look under the surface. Watching the keynote’s various demos’ some pretty impressive trickery was shown, including the new fast boot feature. This I’m sure makes great use of our old friend the Hiberfill.sys file. One feature I really love is the ability to log in with your Live account and sync your photos and data direct to the cloud. Also in terms of security it looks like face recognition is finally going to see the end of the dreaded username and password.
Now over the coming months we will of course see the Beta release which will no doubt complete the OS with missing features and functionality but, as long as you see this for what it is “A Developer Preview” then I think you will be suitably impressed. Now if you missed the keynote for build you can watch it here http://www.buildwindows.com/