When the Windows 8 Developer Preview was available for download I immediately jumped on it. I downloaded it and installed it as a virtual machine. The install process is very similar to installing Windows 7, but the initial Windows 8 set up is very new. You answer a few questions about your network connection and whether or not you’d like to log in with your Windows Live account or create a local account.
It’s the Start screen that’ll blow you away. Microsoft has made some bold changes. First off, they carried over the Windows Phone tiles over to their Windows OS. This new interface is definitely tailored towards the tablet form factor. Since I was running it as a virtual machine on my laptop I wasn’t unable to test any of it’s touch features. But from the looks of it I’m sure it’s as smooth and responsive as its Windows Phone OS. Applications are launched by the selecting the tiles on the screen. Some tiles can display live data such as Stock info and the current weather. There is also a tile to launch the classic Windows desktop as we’ve all come to know. Microsoft has not departed from the standard desktop GUI, It’s still there and it still looks the same as Windows 7. Microsoft is moving away from it’s traditional OS layout to a more consumer friendly interface. In essence, Windows 8 is Windows 7 with a heavy tablet overlay, and this is a big step into getting their OS onto more tablets. But unlike other tablets, you’ll actually be getting a full functional desktop experience when you need it.
For me, a tablet computers aren’t useful unless it can do everything a typical desktop/laptop computer can do. Up until now, the Windows OS was not optimized for tablets. The user interface wasn’t made for touch screens, the OS was bloated with code to support legacy devices and software, and the hardware that required to run it were power hungry. Now with Windows 8 many of those issues will be a thing of the past. And so far with what I’ve seen with this Windows 8 preview I’m very excited to see how Windows 8 progress.
Check out a few of the screen shots below. If you want to check out Windows 8 Developer Preview for yourself you can download it HERE.