Windows 8 on Microsoft's new Surface tablet (Photo : Reuters)
Paul Allen, the now retired co-founder of Microsoft, took a dive into Windows 8 and lived to tell the tale; here's what he had to say.
In a recent blog post, Allen argued that "Windows 8 represents a significant evolutionary milestone in Windows development, principally to expand support to tablet devices and to provide a more unified user experience across all of Microsoft's offerings."
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Allen was particularly impressed by the bimodal interface that "simultaneously support[s] both desktop and tablet use in the same operating system." He also found the gesture functionality of the OS a grade above Windows 7.
However, the co-founder had a stable of annoyances, including: difficulty scrolling in desktop view on a tablet, the absence of a clock on the start screen, an on-screen keyboard that doesn't appear automatically in Desktop view, an inability to build hierarchies on the Start screen, and difficulty with multiple monitor functionality.
Despite his praise for the bimodal interface, he notes that the "user experience can introduce confusion, especially when two versions of the same applications -such as Internet Explorer -can be opened and run simultaneously. Files can also be opened in either of the two available modes. For example, after opening a PDF attachment in Outlook from the desktop, Windows opens the file in the Microsoft Reader, an application more suited for use on a tablet, rather than the desktop Acrobat Reader."
One of the common criticisms of Windows 8 is that it caters so heavily to the tablet market that desktop users will not receive that optimal experience with their OS.
Overall, Allen states that "Touch seems a natural progression in the evolution of operating systems, and I'm confident that Windows 8 offers the best of legacy Windows features with an eye towards a very promising future."
Windows 8 launches on October 26, 2012.