10 ways microsoft can make windows 8 a game changer
10 Ways Microsoft Can Make Windows 8 a Game ChangerBy Justin JamesTons of speculation has surrounded Windows 8, and while the recent Microsoft BUILD event andrelease of the Windows 8 Developer Preview have answered many of the questions, there is stillplenty of time for Microsoft to unveil new features and strategies for the OS. Here are some thingsMicrosoft can do to make Windows 8 a true game changer in the industry.1: Better Legacy apps ExperienceRight now, the experience of using legacy applications in the Developer Preview is just awful. Youbounce between the slick Metro UI to a Windows 7 style desktop that is utterly crippled. Forexample, there is no Start menu. It feels like the old Windows 3.1 days, where many apps werestill DOS apps and running them under Windows was a completely different experience fromWindows apps — and that is not a good feeling. If Microsoft wants Windows 8 to get quickuptake, this needs to change.2: 100% Binary Compatibility with Xbox,Windows PhoneYou know what would be awesome? Having one OS to rule all my devices and applications. Rightnow, we know that Microsoft intends for Windows 8 to be for desktops as well as tablets. Bybringing the Xbox successor and phones into the mix, game developers wouldn’t need any extraeffort to reach a bigger audience, and enterprises would be falling all over themselves to buyWindows 8 phones so their apps could be written only once.3: Cloud SelectionWe’re currently seeing a fair amount of cloud integration (via Live) with Windows 8. Applicationdata can get synced to the cloud, as can settings, so that you can effortlessly transition from onecomputer to another. It would be nice if the OS allowed you to specify a public cloud (greatopportunity for Microsoft vendors here) or a private cloud (for enterprises and advanced homeusers) for this purpose. This would let enterprises feel comfortable having users syncing so muchto a cloud, since they can pick it and control the data retention and storage.4: Social networking hooksWindows Phone 7 is innovative in its use of social networking. It is easy to have your pictures endup on Facebook, for example. While I doubt that people would want a desktop PC to tieeverything to social networking, a level of integration like WP7 has would be great, especially
when used on tablets.5: DockingTablets are now powerful enough to run most applications pretty well. Sure, you don’t want to berunning Photoshop or encoding video on a tablet. But for most basic productivity tasks, a tablet (oreven a phone) can get the job done. We’re starting to see innovative devices like the Droid Bionicthat can dock with other accessories such as monitors and keyboards to expand their capabilities.If Windows 8 has built-in provisions for this, in a way that applications can scale up or down(preferably automatically, without the developer needing to write special code), Windows 8 willbe a winner for tablets and even phones.6: Built-in OfficeIf Microsoft really wanted to impress us, it could put Office into the OS. Sounds nuts, right? Well,not really. WP7 devices already come with a portable version of Office that can handle Word,Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, as well as a separate Outlook version (that is much moreintegrated into the phone), which covers most people’s needs. Maybe Microsoft shouldn’t giveaway the farm with a full version of each application, but a stripped-down copy of each would bea real winner. It would ensure that Office maintains its dominance and keep Windows 8 useful.After all, why should someone pay for the full Office suite just to get features they aren’t going touse anyway?7: A Refocus on Business CapabilitiesWindows 7 is a solid OS for business. Unfortunately, at least in the Developer Preview, Windows8 is not. The legacy apps, as mentioned, feel out of place, which is bad for businesses that rely onall sorts of specialized applications. The Metro UI is just awful for multi-tasking or side-by-sidework, which is a big problem for people trying to get important projects done. While there ismulti-monitor support, of course, the idea of trying to perform tasks when applications mustconsume an entire screen is frightening for most kinds of sophisticated information work.8: Lighter System RequirementsWindows 8 needs to be lighter than Windows 7. While Windows 7 performs pretty nicely,Windows 8 needs to be usable on low-end desktops or tablets, if not phones. Microsoft is claimingthat Windows 8 is much lighter than Windows 7, and it’s already been shown that system startup islightning quick. Microsoft needs to do better. If they want Windows 8 to be a smash hit for tabletsor phones, it needs to snap alive instantly.
9: Platform for locally hosted Web appsOne of the big changes in IT has been the move to Web applications. A real killer feature would beallowing applications to easily install and self-host a Web backend. This would allow developersto use their existing tools and code base, combine it with backend database synchronization, andinstantly see applications with true offline capabilities without much additional effort. The piecesare already in place (IISExpress, LocalDB, and the cloud sync). The question is whether Microsoftcan put it all together in one slick package. Enterprises would like to be able to self-hostapplications, either on the desktop or server level, rather than trust public cloud vendors. Thiswould be a great step in that direction.10: A Price Drop to Free, or Nearly SoThis is the least likely of all, considering that Microsoft’s #1 source of revenue is Windows,followed by Office. Windows 7 took a while to start replacing XP, in no small part because whileit was good, it wasn’t good enough to justify paying for an upgrade. By dropping the pricesignificantly, along with reducing system requirements, Windows 8 looks like a good upgrade forexisting machines, keeps the cost of Windows 8 powered notebooks, netbooks, and tablets lowenough to compete with Android tablets and the iPad, and keeps the partners happy. HP hasalready announced that it’s pulling out of the PC game entirely, in no small part to cratering profitmargins. Getting Windows 8 more attractively priced would help ensure better margins for thosewho are left.Recommend Office .NET/Silverlight Component:Spire.XLS for .NET and SilverlightSpire.Office for .NET and SilverlightSpire.Doc for .NET and SilverlightSpire.PDF for .NETSpire.DataExport for .NET