Microsoft just released a new version of Windows. There is a lot of information out there discussing (and dissecting) Windows 8 in techno-speak. Today we are going to take a look at what Windows 8 is and is not, written in plain English.
Why did Microsoft make such a radical change? Not to alienate the consumer, honest. I have to believe the radical changes to Windows 8 generated a lot of internal discussion. In order to stay relevant in today’s world, Microsoft must change. The choices are simple: change and adapt or go the way of the dinosaur. Microsoft tries to make switching to Windows 8 as easy as possible, but switching to Windows 8 will require some flexibility on our part.
Windows 8 comes in two versions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT. Be careful when shopping for Windows 8 devices, the two versions of Windows 8 look the same, but they are not.
Windows 8 is:
- For your traditional desktop and laptop computers
- Great on a touch screen computer or hybrid laptop (more on hybrids later)
- A replacement for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7
- For businesses and home offices, traditional computer usage
- For applications installed from CD-ROM, DVD and downloaded via the internet
- Very compatible with your existing Windows programs (GenDetective and others).
Windows 8 RT is:
- For tablets and cell phones
- To compete against iOS (iPad & iPhone) and Android (phones & tablets)
- For mobile users, replacing the web surfing, email only computers
- Applications are only available for download from the Windows store (think iTunes and Android Market, ie. “apps”)
- Office RT is not the full version of Office. It looks like “regular Office” but it is not!
The bad news, which I will not dwell on, as these items have been prominently covered by the news, are true:
- The Start button is gone. However, the tiled view is very “natural” with a touch screen.
- Windows 8 does have an option for the “traditional Windows desktop”
- Favorite Windows options/programs have been hidden or appear to be gone.
Back to the hybrid laptop, which is my term to describe new laptops offering dual functaionlity. What is a hybrid? It is a lightweigh notebook combined with a tablet. I just acquired a Windows 8 laptop with a touch screen that swivels, converting into an oversized (12 inch) tablet. The hybrid combines the computing power of a traditional laptop with an easy to use touch screen tablet. These laptops weigh a bit more than a traditional tablet (1 pound vs 3.3 pounds), but 3 pounds only feels heavy when holding the laptop in one hand and my Android tablet in the other. I could not get a good picture, but you can see one here.
I have written more than I intended, but when buying a Windows 8 machine:
- Know if a laptop is Windows 8 (traditional) or Windows 8 RT (apps only)
- Verify touch screen or not (most laptops are not)
- Many stores are offering free training sessions for Windows 8, take the class.
- Verify your favorite applications will run on Windows 8. Most will not run on RT!
Good luck and happy computing ..