AtRandom #11: Windows 8 Preview

We’re proud to announce our new show format in which we tackle a specific technical topic in-depth for the length of the show, instead of hitting a number of topics lightly. In our first show of this new format we take a look at the Windows 8 Developer Preview which Microsoft are providing openly to anyone that is interested. John installed this recently onto his PC and the AtRandom team take it for a spin.

Listen to Episode 11 of At Random

AtRandom Episode 11 – Enhanced Podcast (M4A)

AtRandom Episode 11 – Simple Audio (MP3)

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The Metro UI being delivered with Windows 8 is certainly very new and shiny – a dramatic change for legacy users, but will they accept the new interface? We give our hands on impression of the new interface throughout the show, drawing some parallels with Windows 7 Mobile, the Xbox interface and existing table interfaces. Concerned were raised by the team however that the interface might be a step too far for use with a keyboard and mouse, but it was felt that the ‘movie OS’ feel could really shine on a touch-screen PC.

Overall, our look into the early apps build for the Metro interface were pleasing and this could well open up new markets for Microsoft. Internet Explorer 10 comes with a Metro styled full screen version (as well as a classic view version) and everyone felt that this was a well presented and intuitive step forward. It’s nice to actually have a chance to use the browser full screen, without awkwardly having to switch back out from full screen regularly to get access to the menus for instance.

The device market is exploding with diversity, and it looks as though Metro will position Microsoft well to compete in this space. The threat is that Microsoft is aligning itself with the iOS and Android market space, and MS finds itself competing from the back of the grid. It’s difficult to see how a shinny new interface pasted over the top of all those lines of legacy code is going to be able to compete against much newer innovative systems that we see in Android and iOS..

The familiar Windows desktop is still very much available, and the changes at this point are subtle – we believe that keeping the changes to a minimum here would be the sensible thing for Microsoft todo with the classic side of Windows 8.

John Wordsworth

All round geek and gamer with extensive experience developing for the web and mobile platforms. Having spent far too many years in education acquiring a PhD in Applied Mathematics, John is now looking to keep up the fun by developing apps and games.

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