It seems like only yesterday that Microsoft was rolling out Windows 7. However, the software giant is about to launch its new all singing, all dancing replacement: Windows 8.
One of the most significant new features is that Windows 8 will allow multi-touch gestures on touch pads. Macs have had multi-touch touch-pad drivers for a few years, while Windows touch pads haven’t progressed much since Windows XP. With the introduction of multi-touch, Windows PC users will now enjoy the benefits of pinch-to-zoom, two-finger scroll along the X and Y axes, and edge swiping. That last one is important because it will give users an easier way to activate the edges on non-touch-screen Windows 8 computers besides using the mouse.
Windows 8 will also come with a range of default “apps” and further apps will be available for download – just like on a smartphone.
The SkyDrive app will feature a new “fetch” option for grabbing photos from other computers that have SkyDrive installed, regardless of how large the pile of pictures is. It’s implied that this will depend on the size of your local drive on the recipient computer, and that “fetch” will work like a data transfer service.
Meanwhile, the Mail app offers effective multiple account support and a logical organisation of folders. You can also now pin specific e-mail accounts to your Start screen, so it’s easier to get right to the e-mail you want. When the Mail app is combined with the Calendar app, it appears to be an equivalent product to Outlook. This suggests that Microsoft could in fact be killing off Outlook in the future.
Windows 8 is designed to work on tablets and desktop / laptop PC’s. That’s all well and good, but do consumers and business users actually want a tablet that’s not an Apple iPad? Only time will tell. In the meantime, many businesses have only recently migrated to Windows 7. As such, business users will most likely wait until mid-2013 before rolling out Windows 8, by which time any teething problems and bugs will (hopefully) have been ironed out.