Phil Nickinson

Ladies and gentlemen, Microsoft is back.

I wasn't sure we'd ever have reason to write those words again, and Microsoft's not yet all the way back. But it's absolutely taking the right steps. And for the first time since I began worrying about this sort of stuff, Microsoft appears to actually have some direction, some common goal.

Google EventGoogle easily made the right call by canceling Monday's "Playground" event. More here.

I found myself in unfamiliar territory late last week, a couple days before a trip without a couple of reviews hanging over my head. Relative free time. Windows 8 had just gone official, and I hadn't actually gotten around using any of the beta builds over the past few months, and a $39 upgrade is kind of a no-brainer. (That and my daily machine is now a Mac, so I wasn't overly concerned about app compatibility just yet.) So, I popped Windows 8 onto the box it now shares with an Ubuntu install (for those times I feel like torturing Jerry with Linux questions).

First off, I'm loving the move away from the traditional desktop metaphor. It's going to be a big adjustment for us old folks. But our kids are gonna love it. And (for me, anyway), things started to make sense pretty quickly. There are Metro apps (sorry, Microsoft, but that's what they're called, and that's what I'm calling 'em), which run on the cool (if busy) start screen, and there are legacy apps, which run on top of a traditional desktop space. We'll eventually see the latter phased out entirely, I suppose, but that's going to take time. It takes a little work getting used to only having one app on the screen at a time. But maybe that's not a bad thing for casual computing. 

For me, though, it shows that for the first time in a very long time, the different departments at Microsoft are working together. Hell, they're probably allowed to talk to each other for the first time. Three screens and the cloud no longer is just bluster coming from Ballmer, ladies and gentlemen. 

What does this mean for Google and Android? Not a lot, just yet. It's still early in this rebirth for Microsoft and it's going to take more time for the ball to start rolling down the hill. But it's most certainly in motion, and it's no longer going uphill. Google, obviously, is serious about the mobile space. You wouldn't be reading this otherwise. I think it's still kinda toeing the waters when it comes to Chromebooks, but I also think that'll change over the coming months as well. (I love this new Chromebook commercial. Google's got to do this for Android, too.) And I still think Google's got more in store for the living room space; the Nexus Q was just a teaser.

But consider this: Microsoft is making its products available on current non-Microsoft devices. We're already seeing that with Xbox SmartGlass. Xbox Music is coming to Android as well -- quite possibly sooner rather than later. Microsoft Office is still strongly rumored. I've always believed one of Apple's bigger mistakes was not letting iTunes -- and its purchasing power and gateway drug status -- infect other platforms. Microsoft has never been shy about spreading its reach. After all, it's how we ended up with Bing Android phones for a short time.

Microsoft may be in third place in the mobile space, and that's not all that likely to change anytime soon. There are just too many Android and iOS devices out there. But make no mistake, Microsoft's in a much stronger place than it's ever been.

The Google 'Playground' event ...

On Saturday afternoon, Google canceled (or at least postponed) its "The Playground is Open" event scheduled for Monday morning in New York City. Easily the right call, as the event was scheduled for a flood zone downtown. I've been through more storms than I care to remember here in Florida. I won't be second-guessing this one.

The strange coincidence is that this makes two straight "Nexus" events that have been postponed. Last year, the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich unveiling got pushed from CTIA in San Diego to a stand-alone event eight days later in Hong Kong, coinciding with an already scheduled demo at AsiaD. Needless to say, that drastically changed the U.S. presence at the launch.

Google hasn't yet said (and likely doesn't yet know) when the event will take place. You'll know more as soon as we know more. Disappointing, yeah. But it's weather, and these are just phones. What are you gonna do? I didn't make the hop to Hong Kong last year for just a single phone. I might be willing to go TPAC for the Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and Android 4.2, though. And if anyone's looking for suggestions, I hear Sydney is lovely this time of year. 

Is it a tablet? Is it a phone?

I've seen some gnashing of teeth following the leak of the Samsung Nexus 10 over whether a tablet that big should have the same "phone" user interface as the Nexus 7 (or Galaxy Nexus), or whether it should have a "tablet" UI. The Nexus 10 appears to have neither. Or it has both. Just like the Nexus 7.

The more astute among you will recall Dianne Hackborn's Google+ post from July 3, in which she spells it out pretty simply:

"Some people have commented that the UI on the Nexus 7 isn't a scaled down version of the 10" UI.  This is somewhat true.  It is also not just the phone UI shown on a larger display.  Various parts of the system and applications will use one or the other UI (or even a mix) depending on what works best.  For example parts of the system UI (status bar and navigation bar, settings) use the phone layout since they too compact in 600dp of width.  Other apps use the tablet UI or even a mix -- for example Gmail uses the tablet UI in the conversation list, but the message screen is either a single pane like a phone or dual-pane like a tablet depending on whether the screen is currently portrait or landscape."

The Nexus 10, like the Nexus 7 before it, is an Android device. It's got all this baked in. Know how every now and then you'll see a post about "enabling tablet mode" on a device that might not natively display it? That's all that's going on. It's not black magic -- is display density.

Is one "mode" better than another? Depends on the application, I suppose. Either way, I'm going to wait till I actually get to use the thing before worrying about it. I'm funny like that.

Dear Verizon: Stop it

Here's my conspiracy theory over that hideous Verizon logo on the button of the Galaxy Note 2. I've got a feeling it's consolation for not being able to muck up the Galaxy S3. Samsung put its foot down, but offered up a 5.5-inch carrot, and quite possibly some other intangible goodies, such as a discount on cost.

Or maybe somebody lost a bet or had one too many last one night. That logo's so awful on that button, it defies rational explanation. It did, however, prompt Alex Dobie to imagine what it might look like if Verizon does manage to get another Nexus device. 

Verizon Home Button

I shudder to think.

 

Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: Who is this, and what did they do with Microsoft?

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In regards to Microsoft, I agree with you completely. After walking past the bright Windows stores a bunch of time, I actually walked in yesterday and played with W8 on their touch-screen laptop... I fell in love. It was really, really nice. I might actually consider Bootcamping it on my Mac. I'm quite sure it's not "there" just yet, but Microsoft is definitely coming back.

I ran the Windows 8 customer preview on my older Core 2 Duo based 13" MacBook Pro in Parallels 7 and was very impressed with the speed since I was feeding the OS only one core and 4GB of memory to work with. There was a nice upside to the OS as it worked very well with the multi touch trackpad and the native 13" display. There was one much bigger problem if you have a 27" Apple Cinema Display. Windows was still amazingly smooth but it seems Microsoft just wants to kill the mouse which won't bode well with the PC gaming crowd.

In clamshell mode, I installed much the same software I use on my Windows 7 install and the tiles kept multiplying where my monitor looked like a giant game of Tetris.

In addition to the high native resolution of the ACD and newer Retina MacBooks, that tiny mouse arrow is tough to see and being so used to the desktop nature of OS X and Windows over many years, I found Metro rather frustrating as it really is meant for a tablet PC or the slick looking Microsoft Surface tablet.

After the dust settles and the NEW! label fades a bit, I am curious how Windows 8 will really take off like Windows 7 did over Vista.

Metro overall is one thing I found that is fantastic on a mobile device but I think I've been spoiled by all the eye candy from various Android phones and even the iPhone. The new HTC and Nokia models really show promise for the WP8 platform.

You can use two apps at once on Metro, but it's pretty pointless unless you have a decently high resolution on your monitor. One app will get stuck with 75-80% of the screen, and the other will be stuffed into the side. Basically, open two metro apps and while you are in the second, go to the recent apps area in the top left corner, click and drag the other metro app on screen. I will say, this implementation works very well for IM apps on the side. Also, there is likely another way to get both apps open, but I haven't checked since I don't see myself using that feature often.

Personally, I see this as a developer option. Make an app for Windows 8 Metro, and oh, I need to see how it'll act on a Windows 8 Phone I don't have. Well, toss it over there, and it'll show you what it'll look like on those screens. Just a thought I've been having. Going to test it later.

How am I supposed to take the article seriously with a sentence like: "Microsoft may be in third place in the mobile space, and that's not all that likely to change anytime soon."

Microsoft is in fact in fifth place right now and that's based on *Q2 2012 shipments*. If we looked at Windows phone subscribers, they probably won't even be on the charts. Heck, even Symbian is in front of Microsoft with shipments. Even BlackBerry is shipping more smartphones with its legacy BlackBerry OS than Microsoft with its new OS.

If you want to play semantics & word games, find better examples. Symbian is dead. RIM will be soon enough. To argue Microsoft doesn't have better staying power than either of those lost platforms is laughable.

RIM will be what? Symbian is what?
I think you're exaggerating a bit.
Symbian is still strong with their Anna, Belle, and S40 on low-to-mid entry device. Especially in third world country.
And RIM, geesh.. Read about how many that 'hideous BB7 devices' shipped in Q3.
BBM subscribers still grow 5 million with 80 million this year, and I don't think those numbers will eventually gone in an instant.

RIM are running out of cash. They need their new lineup to be a hit, or they'll either have to divide or be bought out.
Symbian is dead. The only devices being released now are those that were in the pipeline before Windows Phone - eg the 808 Pureview. S40 is not Symbian, and never has been.

Microsoft is widely seen now as 'number 3'.

RIM is running out of cash? You must be kidding because RIM grew their cash reserves in the last quarter to well over $2 billion.

Microsoft is not widely seen as number 3. They made an attempt with Windows Phone 7 and it flopped. The same will happen with Windows Phone 8.

I probably could have worded that a little better, sure. But I'm thinking ahead. BB OS will be gone soon, and BB10 will have some catching up to do. In terms of devices that we actively cover here, it's Android/iOS (I really don't like putting one over the other -- it depends on which analyst you read), then Windows Phone, then BB, eventually. The numbers don't concern me at this point.

Dells W8 Ultrabook caught my eye. It's been almost ten years since I was excited about a Microsoft "product" but Windows 8 and the versatility of the Ultrabook has me giddy.

I also "lol'd" at the onscreen Verizon logo...

Can't agree with this at all and the more you use it, the more antagonistic it gets - you just head back to the old legacy desktop again. The Start menu is much more efficient - at least for desktop mouse and keyboard driven PCs. It's terribly hard to organise apps with Metro too, and legacy programs look scruffy and there doesn't seem to be the ability to organise things into folders. The only good thing about W8 is that it has Gmail Account integration built in, but try using MS Office and Skydrive. It's the biggest cluster f+@k known to man - the way it works makes it slow and stupid. Download files, that you already have locally to edit them. Not on a UK broadband connection I'm afraid. Also, the Windows Live and Skydrive integration is Microsoft's very belated effort at jumping on the cloud bandwagon, and because it aggressively forces you down that login route, they'll succeed to a certain degree because of their market share, but it's executed dreadfully. I was aghast at how amateur it is compared to Google's.

I traded in my ATT HOX for a Nokia Lumia 900 after I kept NOT receiving SMS notifications and HTC was unable to help after 2 emails. The WP 7.5 platform is very smooth and pretty, but app support is TERRIBLE. The phone works great. Its nowhere near as beatiful as the HOX but it just works. I will most likely go Nexus for my next phone, but I believe Windows is doing som great things. App devs need to take heed and start pushing out the apps. Unfortunately, I won't get WP8, only 7.8, and I think that is rediculous. At least the home screen gets the visual update which is a MUST HAVE. Having a WP has changed the way I use a phone. I use it more for basic needs. i.e. music (xbox music is awesomesauce!), email, texting, calling, twitter/FB, and weather. Most everything else I use my wifes iPad, and soon enough, my 32gb Nexus 7.

I am just waiting for 2nd Gen WIN8 tablets with higher res screens. Everything looked awesome EXCEPT the low res screen. BTW, the screen on the Nokia is REALLY pretty for a 'lower res' phone sceen. I am sure te new WP8 phones by Nokia wil be exceptional.

I would also like to see Windows and Android come together in other ways too!

Like the author, I had a little time to spare, and as he said - for $39 who isn't going to try it out? So, I loaded it up on a desktop machine and went to work. My impression, IMHO, is that it may well succeed in the tablet and phone space, but for the desktop, that is another story. After having used Windows 8 on a desktop for a while now, it seems to me that it is about 25% done. Give Microsoft another 5 years, and they could have it ready to take a major chunk out of what desktop market there is left. As I see it today, Windows 8 will likely accelerate the movement of Android to the desktop for home and casual business users (Apple already being there). Although I don't see future Android desktop PCs supporting MIL-Spec tech writers or accountants doing 80 page spread sheets or scientists doing heavy duty modelling, it would suffice for probably 80% of the desktops out there where people want full size keyboards and large (21" and up) screens.

Verizon put that logo on front simply because no one sees back logos anymore with the popularity of cases. It's a reasonable move from a marketing standpoint. But from their choice/placement of that logo is hideous, and we know marketing doesn't always think these things through.

Windows Me, Vista, and now 8. Yeah Microsoft is on a roll. I'll be skipping 8 like I did Vista, maybe with 9 they'll come to their senses. Or maybe ill start using Linux even more. That metro shit needs to stay in the tablet realm where it makes sense, not on a desktop.

My thoughts exactly. The Windows release cadence of good-suck-good-suck is well documented. If the pattern holds Win9 should be solid.

You are spot on Clak. You left off the original offender OS though. Windows 98. The OS that started the "bridging" too far disaster cycle for Microsoft. I'll wait for 9 also.

I just got an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for 14.99 and I have to tell you.....

On a laptop with no touch screen, Win 8 is the biggest piece of shit I have ever used. It might be good on a touch screen but it feels more like a "skin" on top of Win 7 and with no legacy start menu on the desktop, makes it feel more yiddish. Getting to menus is horrendous and side scrolling with a mouse is just....stupid. Yeah, it boots fast. It shuts down quick. Smoothness is there. But for all intents and purposes, it doesn't "feel" finished because "metro" and the legacy desktop just doesn't seem to mesh with one another in any way. So I made a backup of my drive with with Win 8 and re-installed my backup of Win 7. That's where I'm staying and I'm sticking to it.

I'm not impressed whatsoever. Infact, I'm disappointed. Thier mobile mechanics for win 8 might be good for the winmo folks wanting integration to the likes of Apple, but not for the people who want customizability....So I'll stick with Windows 7 and Android till the pigs come home to roost for doughnuts.

i checked out Windows 8 at Best Buy on the new Lenovo Yoga Ideapad 13 Ultrabook. this might be my next laptop. full 10 finger touchscreen, fully flexible hinge with 4 modes including tablet, full SSD (albeit 128GB - i need 256GB min), i5 processor, 4GB DDR, ~3 pound weight, all for $999. thoughts or recommendations?

The advantage windows has always been multitasking, real multitasking, not just easily accessing other programs, but having outlook open on one screen, and and excel open on the other. Or an internet browser open on one side and something else on the other. The basic testing I've done with win8, metro is not a multitasking os, and apps built using metro structure, well, they aren't doing anything to make it better either.

Meh, if it catches on, we'll all figure out how to use it, but it just doesn't seem to be made with the corporate world, or productivity in mind.

One thing I have noticed is that the wave of Windows 8 advertising seems pretty well done and creates a fresh appeal to their new products. I want to check it out and see how it feels on a business travel laptop.

Microsoft is going in the right direction but we will have to see how far they go before something or someone jacks it up. And especially after Apple coming (November)with that brand new iMac that looks like a great experience as soon as you turn it on.

in terms of what you said about MS, I'll quote my CTO who came by and talked about his thoughts of upgrading to windows 8, "there is NO WAY IN HELL we will do that in the next 3 years or so"... MS will do well on tablets, but I don't think you have played with the OS enough to find some of the issues it has, and it has many. Add in to the fact the OS doesn't "feel nor run that great" on a traditional pc, with keyboard and mouse in terms of how you interact, and the steep learning curve for "most" of the mom/dad users out there, and you just have a mess. Even the Surface tablets aren't that great, they stutter at times, run slow on some default apps, take a while to load, again, some default apps, and you can see there is much work ahead for MS. Add in that Metro UI is one of those you either love or hate, and most people I know, hate it, looks like crap a 4 year old drew with crayons, and you have more issues. Corporations, won't be adapting to this OS no time soon, so I don't see all roses like the statements made. I think they have ways to go, and only time will tell where they end up. Windows 7 will become what XP became with the launch of Vista, the go to, windows OS for many years to come..

I'm not sold on Win8 at all. I'll admit I havent tried the final version, but I have played around with the dev preivew and as far as I can tell my only issues with it havent been solved yet.

1) Metro is terrible for serious work on a desktop. There's a reason desktop applications havent forced you to run them full screen. My everyday work environment uses two monitors and a good number of windows open among them. I'm considering adding a third monitor to that. Maybe for casual web browsing it would work, but anything more than that and its crap. For example, try writing a document without having a web browser open for quick fact checking and notepad open to organize your notes. It just doesnt work.

2) No sideloading on Metro in Win8, and no sideloading PERIOD in WInRT. This here is the deal killer. This here is the main reason I use Android on my phone and OS X on my desktop (and before that Linux, and before that, the completely flexible WIn7). I own my computer, and I can do whatever the heck I want with it. I shouldn't have to hack it to make it truly mine. OS X has a great feature called Gatekeeper which allows you to set restrictions on what apps are allowed, and because its controllable by the user its a perfect solution because it protects those who want it and doesnt get in the way of those who despise it.

I'm kinda hoping it flops as a result of #1, so that Microsoft ends up rethinking #2. Because if Windows removes sideloading, Apple might think that's an OK to do the same and that'll make me go back to Linux. Last I checked, Linux had poor commercial software support.

Support is getting somewhat better for Linux though--at least on the essential things. Certain things though, such as VMware Workstation, suck so badly at keeping up compatibility with the latest Linux Kernels. Its just infuriating how poor they support these things. There's obviously much more money in supporting the Windows version, and that's fine. However, if there's not enough money in the Linux market for them to justify using resources on it, then they need to just come out and announce a discontinuation of future VMware-Linux versions, and promise to support the most recent versions for 2-4 more years, and just be done with it. VMware is a pretty damn expensive piece of software, and they shouldn't be letting people pay so much, only to support near-outdated versions of the Linux-kernel--and even that support is half hearted.
I absolutely *love* the two most recent Ubuntu distributions, 12.04-12.10. All kinds of things are really getting great support now. I don't care about having to add PPA for certain things. exFAT is completely seamless now, with the exception of formatting. I decided to go all in with Ubuntu on my 64-bit machine, and just put Windows 7 Professional on an old 32-bit netbook I have. For a while, I has that reversed. I've never been happier than I am now, with Ubuntu as my everyday OS, and Windows to fall back on in rare times of need.
Ubuntu is just one obviously--I'm sure other distributions are stepping things up as well. Don't be afraid to go back :) The migration can be a pain, but its a breeze afterwards.

I'm wit cha buddy... my linux pitch...

I find it ironic that here at the center of the android world, how many people are still buying into the windows/mac mindset/mindshare. All the android fanboys around here seem to recognize the enormous benefits of choice, customizability, and innovation that open-sourced software has brought to our mobile devices. They seem to TOTALLY MISS out that the very same awesomeness is available (and in fact originates) in the PC linux world. If you don't like a linux distro... modify it yourself... add whatever you want...remove whatever you want... and get exactly what you want!

The zombie peanut gallery asks: What if I have a problem? ... my desktop has been single booting Xubuntu since 10.04 came out (I used various linux distros, on occasion, for quite a while before that). I am not a real hacker (although I do have aspirations). It has been the most trouble free period of time I have ever had with PC computers. BY FAR. It's not that there hasn't been bugs or glitches. There have been. There are always bugs and glitches with Windows and Mac, too. But what has made it so trouble free is that my problems have all been easily fixed with a google search, and discussion forum or two, and a few command lines. Maybe I'll have to open a config text file, and change some parameters on occasion. That's the beauty of it. I have learned so much and become immensely more proficient at everything computer related. And it's been easy. It all make sense. And in the end everything really just does work far better.

Even for a total non-nerd, like my wife, the jump to linux was a big improvement. I think she loves it even more than me! Why? She doesn't have weird and unexpected crashes, freezes, errors, and problems like she had her whole life before (while using windows). She demanded that I immediately install linux on her new laptop when she got it. I installed the new Ubuntu to dual-boot with the factory installed windows 7 on her laptop, just in case she needed windows for work.

...If anyone thinks windows 7 is a good OS... ya know...an odd-numbered one... those people would jizz their pants if they even tried a an okay OS...

As it happens, she never uses windows at all. She does lots of work at home in linux and just sticks the files in dropbox to access with her windows machine provided at work. She simply hates windows now. I think she hates it ever more than me. That is probably because she still has to use it. It's pretty funny considering how much resistance she put up when I first changed my desktop (which she used at the time) to single boot linux only a couple years ago.

The beauty of the android... really is the beauty of open-sourced software (just in the mobile device sector). Support it... use it... learn it... profit! We all have a lot to benefit from it and to contribute to it (and the world has a shit-ton of expensive closed-source crapware to burn).

Totally! I dumped Windows and got Kubuntu and am loving all the transitions, cube desktop, no need of anti-virus software, no paying for software...it's so much faster and only uses 15 percent of my memory unlike Windows. I'm never going back to windows! And I'll never give Apple or Microsoft another dime.

Great comments iowabeakster and robotaholic! I agree with everything you guys said.
@Robotaholic: I know exactly what you mean. New Linux kernels are managing resources so, so efficiently. It makes 4GBs of RAM feel like 6GB; and dual-cores feels like quad many times.
@iowabeakster: What you said about learning through using is 100% true! I love that part most of all. By having to solve simple problems from time-to-time; whether through the command line, or by editing configuration files- it has taught me an endless amount of things, and those learning experiences only make me more and more independent, as well as giving me knowledge to help other down the road.
10.04 was great, but I think it seemed too "ugly" or "ancient-looking" for many used to Windows. 12.04 and beyond have done a lot of work to change that perception. It's as sophisticated and modern as ever. Obviously, until certain things improve even further, ditching Windows is definitely not for everyone--just yet. But for many here who love the flexible things about Android, there is an OS waiting for them..and they just might fall in love--if they're willing to give it a chance and learn a few things. :)

My wife is running standard Ubuntu (unity) 12.04 on her laptop. And both of us like it a lot. Although my experience with it is limited (I just play and experiment for a few minutes each week). I encouraged her to try it (unity) with the laptop form factor. She's been running it since march (beta release). I've asked if she wants to go back to a traditional desktop (kde, gnome, xfce) but she really digs unity now.

But with a full keyboard, real mouse, lots of screen real-estate, etc... I think I will always prefer the more traditional desktop that I have become used to for decades. Which is why it is my desktop that is running 10.04 still (XFCE desktop). Just the downloading of additional software is going to take me days. I'm going to have to buy another hard drive (I'm about out of space) before I start to update to 12.04, so I can migrate slowly. I am not a "gotta have the newest just because it is the newest" type of person. I find updating, installing, downloading, to be a tedious chore. So I do it as infrequently as possible. I've still got 6 months of support on my 10.04... :)

... and there are legacy apps, which run on top of a traditional desktop space. We'll eventually see the latter phased out entirely, I suppose, but that's going to take time

This is the problem with Windows 8. In order to use the Windows desktop dominance to seed their late entry into tablets and phones, Microsoft has seriously muddied the waters. Metro apps are coded completely differently from traditional Windows desktop apps. And yet, they've got reviewers like you referring to traditional desktop apps as 'legacy' that will be phased out entirely. If that happens, those apps aren't going to be phased out in favor of Metro API's. Developers of current Win32 desktop apps continue to code Win32 because of the existing code base. They're not going to rewrite from scratch, and those that do would be well served to explore other options than lock-in to the next generation Windows API's. In fact, much functionality that's currently written to Win32 would be better served by being coded as straight browser-based web apps. The old fat-client desktop approach to corporate database applications is seriously outmoded, and recoding that kind of stuff as Metro apps would be plain stupid.

I suspect the traditional desktop will simply live on indefinitely, and some people will have a rude awakening when they find that their iPad-competitive Surface tablets run exactly one traditional Windows app - MSOffice. And MSOffice is there for the simple reason that Microsoft has given themselves a pass to use the 'hidden' Win32 API's that are still there even in the ARM-based version of Win8. Maybe if Metro apps don't materialize, MS will be forced to open the gates and make it easier to port existing stuff to Metro by making a version of WIN32 that works well with touch and the Metro aesthetic without a complete rewrite - that'd be much better, and would truly leverage Microsoft's biggest advantage.

Apple has taken a saner approach to merging their desktop and mobile offerings - bringing some of the best of mobile into the desktop without foisting the whole thing on users. Microsoft should've done that too, but they couldn't - since the 'best' of the MS mobile experience is the launcher. So they've foisted an inappropriate mobile launcher on traditional desktop users.

Sorry, but I don't see the need for metro functionality on a traditional PC.

All the lightweight, simple computer "apps" (email, webserfing, etc.) was already offloaded to my phone and tablet years ago.

Now the only time I turn the pc monitor on is when I want to run heavyweight programs like Photoshop or Vegas Pro. Neither of which do I want to entertain the notion of trying to control directly with a touch inspired interface.

-Suntan

I own a small company and bought everyone a Samsung smart pc. running the full version of windows in a tablet is amazing. I got most employees the atom processor one. I am right now web surfing on dual screens watching sunday nfl ticket on the my tablet screen and running Photoshop and Illustrator all at the same time.

Don't know who has used it but this OS is amazing i will never buy another tablet with a dumbed down OS again. Full blown OS on a tablet is the only way to go.

Oh yeah and heavy duty computing once tablet is in clam shell works just like a laptop. I have been all android minus my win7 laptop all the way but MS might have just convinced me to switch phone and everything.

Oh yeah and adobe products with a digitizer pen is a dream to use.

MS just got my business and all my employees business.

Hire me! :) I'm pretty good with all the Adobe products! And I bet I'd be pretty awesome with the new hardware you buy me!

I'm very excited about Windows 8 tablets, I've been using Windows 8 on my desktop at work for several months now. I think they've done a great job at making a tablet UI... BUT, there seems to be a big disconnect between the "Metro" UI and the "Desktop"... what I mean is switching between the two is very clumsy. For example, on my desktop computer I primarily use the windows "Desktop" and shortcuts, but after installing an application try copying it's shortcut to the desktop... from "All Applications" the only thing you can do is pin it to the Start Screen or Task Bar, unless you know to browse "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" and copy it from there. This youtube video below does a very good job at showing a lot of these disconnects between "Metro" and the "Desktop". Once Microsoft fixes these gaps I think this will be a great operations system. But for right now I'm using ClasicShell to get the Start Menu back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0fsyb-ttcw

Windows 8 tablets are going to take awhile to gain popularity with consumers... the biggest key here is app availability... but I have no doubt that within a couple years the Microsoft Store will have hundreds of thousands of apps just like Andriod and Apple do now.

Business is where Windows 8 tablets will have the advantage in the beginning. I'm an IT Manager and, like most other companies, our company uses all windows based applications, SharePoint, and Active Directory (AD) for security. And because of this I will not allow Apple or Android tablets into our company. In our company the only things there devices are good for is checking email and calendar, which doesn't add much value given the cost of them... also I can't control security on them with AD like I can with windows devices. Over the last year or so I've had a couple of our sales people request Ipads and I've had to say no... then I asked them why they want to carry an Ipad and their laptop just to get everything done. But now with Windows 8 they can truly have a tablet which can replace their laptop and not have to carry two devices.

The perfect business tablet for me is one like the Samsung Ativ SmartPC Pro but also includes a desktop docking station with port replication that has dual display ports. With this setup I can dock it when I'm in my office and use it like a desktop with dual monitors and keyboard and mouse... then when I'm mobile I can dock it in the keyboard if I need to do a lot of typing or just use it as a tablet... with the power to run all the Windows desktop apps that I need.

Ugh, I couldn't disagree more about Win 8 as a Desktop OS. On tablets, yes, it's a competitive product. Not yet as good as Android or IOS, but at least it has promise.

On a laptop or desktop? Seriously?

OK, if all you use your computer for is surfing the web and Facebook, Twitter, and the like, I guess Win 8 is fine. As long as you don't really use email very much, that is.

But for anyone who actually wants to get WORK done (remember work? What most of us have to do to afford these fancy phones, tablets and computers.) Win 8 is garbage. I normally use 2 monitors and have as many as 8 or 10 windows open. Can't do that with Win 8. Mouse over and context menus are gone, for the most part. In a lot of ways, we've gone back to the level of functionality we had in Win 3.1.

Microsoft's theme song should be "Clueless after all these years." For a couple of decades they tried to convince us that an interface designed for a large screen, a mouse, and a keyboard made sense for small devices. Now they've decided an interface designed for small touch screens makes sense for devices with [multiple] large screens, mice and keyboards. That makes about as much sense as saying because steering wheels and brake & gas pedals work well on cars, airplanes, helicopters and motorcycles should have steering wheels and brake & gas pedals, too.

I agree with you that Windows 8 "Metro" UI does not work as well for a desktop... BUT I wouldn't say Windows 8 garbage, the Windows "Desktop" is still there and you can use it on a regular desktop computer just fine... I've been using it at work for several months now with dual monitors (they've actually made a couple nice task bar enhancements for dual display too) and I usually have 10-20 windows open at a time on it between the two monitors. So yes you can do that on Win 8 (but not on Win RT). Windows 8 can run every application that I ran on Windows 7 just as well too... so yes you can actually use Win 8 for WORK. The only thing that bothers me was not having the traditional Start Menu, which is why I used ClassicShell to get it back.

It sounds to me like you are mistaking the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT.

As a business user who needs to take their work with them always, I'm looking for one mobile device that can replace my desktop and do everything I need and want it to do for work... and a Windows 8 tablet is closest thing out there right now that can accomplish this.

Exactly you can do everything you can do on a desktop with windowz 8. I actually so 3 monitors and i am doing it with a Samsung Smart PC Pro and i love it. I own a web dev company and all my guys love it.

Personally i like the new charm bar it is way faster than start menu but if its an old laptop then start menu is easier.

Just today i had Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Visual Studio, Fireworks, and watching Sunday NFL Ticket at the same time. People just dont understand this is a full blown OS and can do it all in a tablet form that can convert to a laptop.

How are you running 3 monitors on the Samsung Smart PC Pro? Are you using an USB port replicator?

I have a copy of Windows 8 sitting on my desk. I decided to install a new HD at the same time, so I am waiting on that.

I have no idea whether or not I'll like it, but it's not a huge loss if I don't. The main reason I got it is because I will also be getting a Win 8 Pro tablet for business use and I wanted to have them be on the same system, which is what Microsoft is trying to get to also...having one familiar system for all devices.

So, I think a lot is just a matter of people getting used to it. By nature people don't like change (and I am a classic case of that), but it happens and we eventually adjust. I think we will all adjust to Windows 8 eventually and then wonder why we hated it so much at first.

BTW, if Apple had released an OS like this, the media and Apple heads would be lined up by the millions to get it.

I also disagree that they're heading in the correct direction with Win8.

A desktop experience needs to be all about multitasking. The Windows 7 Taskbar pushed that idea forward, and Windows 8 is a HUGE step back in that regard.

It may be a great experience for the tablet/mobile space and for a very small set of consumers at home, but if you think the hundreds of millions of people using desktop computers in offices all around the globe are going to want to have anything to do with reaching up and smearing fingerprints all over their screen and only being able to interact with a single app at a time while trying to get work done, you're absolutely crazy.

Oh look, I can click solid colored squares! I is so smart lol And wow, "The Charm Bar" lol

I went Linux Kubuntu with the Plasma desktop and never looked back...in fact I completely formatted my brand new Dell Core i7 computer and put Linux on it and am loving it. At first I tried to get comparable apps to do the same thing I did with Microsoft office and other programs...and then I discovered that you can do so much more with a ton more options and settings and customizations. Now, there is no way I will ever give Microsoft or Apple another dime of my money...ever. Am loving open source! Android & Linux FTW.

Does anyone know how to use the 2 step verification with W8? For the life of me, I can't figure it out. I can't add emaiL, contacts and calendar because it just won't take the password and it won't prompt to enter a verification code...

I too am a big Android fan. I have pointed many folks to the devices, and push folks at our work to go to them as well. I have owned to many android tablets to list, while currently owning a Nexus 7. I have a Galaxy Nexus and an LG Google TV. My ties are deep into Android. All that to say, the surface is going to shake up the industry. I had mine delivered on Friday and played with it all weekend long. I finally have a device where I can do work and play. The multitasking, switching between apps, search, is all just so easy. Being able to have two apps up at the same time is super useful. Having a full keyboard while using RDP is really nice again. The metro designed apps are some of the most beautiful I have seen in some time. After only a few short days, I am loving this device, and this is only the RT model. With the Pro model there will be no limitations as to what I can do. Right now, my only issue with RT is setting up VPN. I haven't figured it out quite yet, but haven't spent a ton of time on it either.

And finally... Avengers and The Hunger Games are for rent for $0.99!