Windows 8: What It Is and Why You Need to Know About It

For consumers, the wait has come to an end. Windows 8 was released October 26th. Over the summer, Microsoft revealed its slick new OS in two forms, the Developer Preview and the Release Preview. News started to break about the dramatic new changes in the new releases, yet, silently Microsoft peers from behind Apple while iOS 6 and iPhone 5 have been released and iPad Mini had been announced. Strategically, Apple’s move may have stolen a lot of attention. However, while Apple stole the spotlight for a few weeks, Microsoft’s splash is going to bring a tidal wave of change.

Windows 8 Windows 8: What It Is and Why You Need to Know About It

Having had a chance to test the new operating system over the recent few months, the amount of change is obvious. Windows 8 dawns a brand-new look and work flow. A lot of familiar things are still present, and some are not. Microsoft is ushering in a new era of Windows, one that will permanently change the landscape of things.

Microsoft debuted its first tablet, called the Surface, simultaneously with Windows 8. This hardware feat is one that has tested the relationship between itself and other PC manufacturers. Microsoft has awarded the blessing of specific manufacturers to create Windows 8 tablets while leaving other manufacturers completely in the cold. This strategic move will elevate the quality of the products thereby forcing manufacturers to adhere to Microsoft’s guidance and tough new standard requirements.

Surface Windows 8: What It Is and Why You Need to Know About It

Can these tablets compete with the iPad and Android tablets? You bet. There will not be any tablet on the market quite as capable as Microsoft’s to handle productivity such as business-oriented applications. For the price, which may end up between $400 and $800, you could argue that the Surface cannot compete. Yet, the Surface has so much more to offer with complete compatibility of its older software. While still managing to support almost all of its previous software, it will also bring to the table its own version of the App Store. Last to join the app trend, Microsoft’s move may be the biggest change to the OS altogether. Microsoft’s development community is the largest by far, and its market will soon be overflowing with apps created by the community. At time of launch, estimates put Microsoft’s store at having around 10,000 apps.

The iOS 6 brought about nearly 200 new features, making it the most advanced mobile operating system – at least it was at the end of October. Microsoft’s new OS has been completely rewritten. It is smaller, faster, and can do almost anything your old PC but on a tablet too. Along with Windows 8, Microsoft is redeveloping all of its other products as well. Outlook, Excel, Word, Windows Phone, and oodles other of its products will be getting a refresh as well. Each of them will get a new look and features to usher in the new era.

So how has the market responded since the Windows 8 release? Well, the reactions are mixed. Experts and enthusiasts have been giving rave reviews of the system, yet unsuspecting consumers find the system downright confusing. The system has done away with the familiar start button and changed the start menu using a style formerly known as ‘Metro’ (they were sued after using the name and style). The feel is dramatically different from the former, consumers have noticed and spoken out. Many have doubts about Microsoft’s future, thinking this release may be a nail in the coffin.

It is hard to tell how far Microsoft’s ad campaigning will carry it, its largest campaign ever, and how long it will take the market to adapt to radical change. Estimates say it might take years for the consumers to adapt. A report by Gartner predicts it will have 39% market share by 2016. The same report gives Android the Android a favorable lead in the smart phone market up to 56%.

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