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Opinion: Should Microsoft Risk Windows 8 on Touch?

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September 23, 2011 5:40:05 PM

NOT EVERYONE HAS TOUCH SCREENS MICROSOFT! Shmucks.
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7
September 23, 2011 5:43:20 PM

Simple... in one corner, a pop up that enables/disables it..
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23
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September 23, 2011 5:49:14 PM

This is the wrong direction to take with Windows as a whole. Touch screen devices lack the true utility that most PC users need in their machines. You simply can't replace a keyboard and mouse with a touchscreen, no matter how good the GUI is - the tactile feedback is critical for rapid precision and productivity!

You'd think with the forecast market saturation for tablets, everybody would know that the PC market won't be replaced by content-consumption devices. The world still needs to work, and work takes a keyboard/mouse.

When businesses start giving their secretaries and engineers touch-screen tablets instead of keyboard/mouse workstations, then I'll believe otherwise.

A PC is a commodity like a washer/dryer now, not a toy. Market saturation for toys is reached more easily, and tablets fall into that category for most people.
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10
September 23, 2011 5:51:05 PM

Quote:
Microsoft's decision to focus the new Windows 8 primarily on touch input is one gutsy move.

Apple has been given a lot of glory for being the first to release their iphone/ipad innovatations.

I don't see anything wrong with MS, for once, being the first to take a risk like this. At least no one can say they copied this from a MAC O/S.

Cell phones got a make-over thanks to the iphone. Why can't Windows get a make-over too?
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6
September 23, 2011 5:52:58 PM

Another point is that some programs simply don't work well with touch. Video editing, coding, writing papers, 3D modeling, other content creation, spreadsheets, any high productivity programs really.

The major problems with touch is that it is not fast where a keyboard is and not accurate where both keyboards and mice are. Touch's only good point that I can see is that it can be faster than a mouse so long as you don't need to be precise with where you are clicking
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4
September 23, 2011 5:56:16 PM

The easiest solution to this is the one most analyst's seem unable to Kinect.

Developing the software to integrate touch gestures into the OS is the beginning of Minority Report style computing. All we need now is a Hologram projector, and a device that can sense our movement and send the computer instructions based on that movement.

Microsoft has already created the SDK for Kinect, and they are adding touch into their next gen operating systems. It wouldn't be difficult to correlate gestures with Kinect to touch gestures. This is the next revolutionary leap I see in home computing.
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-19
September 23, 2011 5:58:26 PM

Wow... Toms slaughtered my links.... Pelase vote that ugly crap down, here it is again without any links...

The easiest solution to this is the one most analyst's seem unable to Kinect.

Developing the software to integrate touch gestures into the OS is the beginning of Minority Report style computing. All we need now is a Hologram projector, and a device that can sense our movement and send the computer instructions based on that movement.

Microsoft has already created the SDK for Kinect, and they are adding touch into their next gen operating systems. It wouldn't be difficult to correlate gestures with Kinect to touch gestures. This is the next revolutionary leap I see in home computing.
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10
September 23, 2011 6:04:02 PM

I seem to be one of the few that has actually put Windows 8 on a tablet PC. And I can say, it works pretty well and is rather fast. Great improvement over touch in Windows 7.

Just need the ability for administrators like me to customize the tile layout or EASILY...(keyword there) disable it entirely.

Also, what most newbs around here fail to realize...is the OTHER things coming with Windows 8. They are too focused on the touch interface.
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6
September 23, 2011 6:05:08 PM

This is a design 101 failure on microsofts part. When you have different products, market them under different brands. What we are going to get is a single dvd (or more preferably a digital download) with all of the backend for either a desktop OS or a tablet OS on it and all the extra space consumption that comes with putting both of those on a single device.

They should have made Windows Touch and Windows Classic, not try to mash them together into an amalgam of confusion like what happened with all the versions of Vista.

The strangest thing is that trying to go so touch heavy seems to be the thing MS would not want to have happen - they have have a HUGE keyboard and mouse business and they don't manufacture lcd screens (and thus, they don't make touch screens) so they are effectively trying to kill one arm of their own company? (this is what happens when you have a huge tech giant monopoly that makes conflicting products).

The fact they had windows mobile, even if the OS sucked, was the right direction to go. They needed windows phone, windows touch, windows home user, windows business user, and windows server. 5 different operating systems for 5 very different purposes. Windows 8s prospects are looking bleak - I better be able to just install a version of windows 8 that is basically Windows 7.5, same UI, with optimizations, some of those new features for file transfers and such, support for directx 12 (if they plan on bringing that out with windows 8 and not making it backwards compatible) and none of the metro crap that is about as useful on a desktop as the OS Lion app store on a desktop.

Even better, this is just an example of corporate desire vs consumer desire - they want to make a one size fits all product so they don't have to have 5 dev teams and all the headache that comes from making different products compatible when they could just sell one middle of the way one that does everything. Too bad that is going to crash and burn next year as bad as Windows Phone has been failing.
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-6
Anonymous
September 23, 2011 6:07:22 PM

Honestly who has a touch screen desktop? No one.. This is absolutely useless to anyone who uses a computer everyday or any kinda of serious professional. Its going to fail horribly unless they make it so you can 100% disable metro UI on desktop. I have zero interest in "live tiles" and all that garbage... It may be fine for tablets for facebook and angry birds, but useless to about 95% of desktop users. No one is going to run out and buy a touch screen monitor.. Only good thing about windows 8 ive seen so far is it has less of a footprint and they FINALLY have added a task bar for each additional monitor!!!
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6
September 23, 2011 6:13:53 PM

I think they are headed in the right direction for tablets. I have a window 7 phone and I love it. it is much better that an iPhone. It would be fantastic on a tablet like the XOOM, Galaxy Tab, or even an HP touchpad. For a table device that lets you stream media, or browse the web, or read a book, Windows 8 is perfect.

However, I am a little concerned about the new interface on a laptop or desktop PC. I have been testing the windows 8 preview, and i can say now that i would much rather have the windows 7 interface on a laptop/desktop PC. when I need to get real work done, you cant beat the good old fasioned keyboard and mouse. so they definatly need a way to turn touch on and off or give us a "Classic Interface" like they did with XP.
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5
Anonymous
September 23, 2011 6:14:01 PM

Microsoft is nuts.

If they want to create a tablet UI, have at it. But trying to force a tablet UI onto the desktop is stupid, just like trying to force a desktop ui onto a tablet. They are completely different. One is targeting productivity and one is targeting consumption. Touch sucks for productivity.
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2
September 23, 2011 6:15:51 PM

There'd BETTER be an option button selection laid out for idiots:

Quote:
I have a touch screen and want to take full advantage of the new Touch features in Windows 8
I have a touch screen but want my computer to start on the Desktop
I do not have a touch screen. (Selecting this option will remove these unnecessary features from Windows, thus may increase performance)

Damn I'd better patent that. LOL
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9
September 23, 2011 6:21:07 PM

They can just leave Windows 8 in the clouds for all I care.
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-4
September 23, 2011 6:22:33 PM

by providing the simple option to turn the MetroUI on and off, Microsoft is not risking anything. I believe this is the correct solution because end users can implement any features they want based on the hardware they're installing this on. The title is an exercise in exaggeration.
And, of course, this author could not resist making another company (Apple, of course), an exemplary "teacher" that everyone has to strive to follow. I start to honestly believe that, because MSFT is the first to come up with a unifying solution ( that is also based on a successful platform), Gruener is...green with envy.
Just read through his articles, or even better, read the titles. Truth is, Win 8 is coming and there is nothing Gruener or his like-minded minions can do about it.
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5
September 23, 2011 6:22:39 PM

I remember when the movie, "Minority Report", starring Tom Cruise was released. Everyone thought the transparent touch screens were the coolest. The perception was that’s where we'll be sometime down the road. And no one could wait to see it, let alone use it.
Typically, people don’t like change. I’ve seen this many times working in IT and I think fear promotes negative comments. Right or wrong, Windows8 is not even out of Beta yet and already we are making assumptions.
Who knows where touchscreen technology takes us…
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10
September 23, 2011 6:22:58 PM

ravewulfAnother point is that some programs simply don't work well with touch. Video editing, coding, writing papers, 3D modeling, other content creation, spreadsheets, any high productivity programs really.The major problems with touch is that it is not fast where a keyboard is and not accurate where both keyboards and mice are. Touch's only good point that I can see is that it can be faster than a mouse so long as you don't need to be precise with where you are clicking


It's not a valid point because WINDOWS 8 DOESN'T REQUIRE or FORCE you to use TOUCH. It's there if your device supports it!!! Can you people read?
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0
September 23, 2011 6:26:08 PM

This is a bizarre question; from the looks of it Windows 8 supports both touch and a Windows 7 style UI for keyboard/mouse. Yes, it's not a huge jump from Windows 7 if you're not using the Metro UI, but that's irrelevant since the vast majority of Windows licenses are sold with new PCs, not users upgrading themselves.

What are Microsoft supposed to do exactly, just sit twiddling their thumbs while Apple and Google have have the entire tablet market to themselves? People keep missing the point with Windows 8, it's not a traditional update meant to run on the same sort of machines are it's always done, it's targeting a new form factor by extending and capitalising on their existing OS rather than releasing an entirely new one, which makes perfect sense considering the overwhelming success of Windows and the failures of every other OS they've released (Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7).
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2
September 23, 2011 6:27:40 PM

dalethepcman +1
kinect?... the hardware's already there, and its "theirs", some mouse (Razer,Cyborg R.A.T.s) are more expensive than Kinects, the mouse weren't always there in the PC's Development this kinect thing could be their mouse.


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1
September 23, 2011 6:36:01 PM

I think MS is going in the right direction for the future of their BRAND and computers. Windows itself is becoming less and less important. With web-based MS-Office, it means anyone with any computer can use MS-Office. So for consumers... who needs Windows? Games? Nope, get a console. Far more AAA games on consoles than desktops.

Metro's future is to chunk the WIn32.api It'll streamline the MS-Operating system.

But, MS MUST **MUST** make metro work correctly with mice and keyboards. The scroll wheel Must make the UI slide left to right. Quick access to a Windows Desktop... they'll do okay.
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-3
September 23, 2011 6:41:32 PM

This is the right move for M$ to take. As long as they keep traditional support as well as add the new touch support, this should be win/win all around. Now if they dropped mouse/keyboard support, or compromised it to get touch to work, then they are making a huge mistake.
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0
September 23, 2011 6:44:30 PM

What about gaming? I'd rather use a controller or a keyboard/mouse any day. A RPG you can get away with, but is it possible to make an FPS without a controller of some type? Just can't see myself shooting with fingers getting in the way.
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0
September 23, 2011 7:08:08 PM

dalethepcmanDeveloping the software to integrate touch gestures into the OS is the beginning of Minority Report style computing.


Why would anybody want to work by waving arms around? Also, what if you just have to watch something? You have to be completely still.

Nah, that Minority Report stuff looks cool but no professional would want to spend hours every day flapping their arms around - you get tired very quickly.
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3
September 23, 2011 7:43:32 PM

In some of the interviews I've read, this new UI is not mandatory. You can simply use a Win 7 interface if you choose. Of course most the reviews aren't focused on that because the new UI is the new and exciting feature, but for us old schoolers, we simply will turn it off.
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0
September 23, 2011 7:44:13 PM

i guess microsoft has gone all "touchy feely"

I say enable or disable option is the best deal although I don't want anyone to touch my screen
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3
Anonymous
September 23, 2011 7:47:48 PM

There's currently an air of The Emporor's New Clothes around MS's Win 8 plans in the tech press, so it's good to read an article that asks some questions about it. I tried the preview on a desktop and feel that although it will be great for tablets,it's a real step backwards with respect to mouse and keyboard use. And lets be realistic, the mouse and keyboard are not going away any time soon. They are the antithesis of imprecise poke-your-stubby-finger-in-the-general-direction-of-a-large-target-icon touch input. They are a precise form of input required perfectly suited for creative work on a desktop computer. I really think MS should allow Win 8 to run in two modes, Metro on top, or Win 7 type desktop with a proper Start menu and Metro completely hidden.
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2
September 23, 2011 8:00:46 PM

Hello, Windows Millennium Edition.
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0
September 23, 2011 8:16:13 PM

I am surprised to note that there has been very little mention of how games are very dependent on the keyboard and mouse. Personally I have no desire for my PC to be touch capable. I despise having marks on my screen at the best of times for one thing and having to reach up and over to a vertical screen is not my idea of efficient computing practice. However I doubt that MS will make Win 8 incapable of traditional input methods.

I can only assume that the Start Screen we are seeing is actually a means of disguising what the Start Screen will really look like at release. It is without doubt the must ugly interface I have ever seen. I would rather have Win 3.1 on my desktop.
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0
September 23, 2011 8:23:54 PM

belardoI think MS is going in the right direction for the future of their BRAND and computers. Windows itself is becoming less and less important. With web-based MS-Office, it means anyone with any computer can use MS-Office. So for consumers... who needs Windows? Games? Nope, get a console. Far more AAA games on consoles than desktops


Get a console yourself, troll... "who needs Windows"... haven't seen a more ridiculous claim for quite a while. Where're you gonna get your cloud Office from, huh? Your console? Tablet, maybe?

No IT-literate person will ever switch to cloud based setup for their home willingly.
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3
September 23, 2011 8:29:39 PM

Fotunately Windows 8 is not touch exclusive and is only an added feature
...
The premise of the article is sensationalist tabloidism

Microsoft did not risk the Xbox 360 by giving it DVD playback as it still did what it was intended to do, play games.

So Windows 8 is the same, it will be a full blown operating system and you can use it with a keyboard & mouse and you will be able to navigate via an explorer.

Touch is an ADDED OPTIONAL EXTRA.
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0
September 23, 2011 8:39:47 PM

My short answer is NO. No as a Windows OS only option. And particularly I don't like the tiles.
My medium to long term answer is YES. MS needs a great or greatest tablet OS and strategy.
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0
September 23, 2011 8:42:42 PM

Microsoft has gone from dismissing the iPad as a passing fancy to "Re-Imagining" windows as a touch screen OS in only 15 months. My guess is that Windows 8 was supposed to be more like Windows 7, but the iPad and other tablets are poised to destroy Windows hegemony. Microsoft is using it's "Hurry-Up Offense" to get a response out the door ASAP. My only fear is that whenever Microsoft rushes they get sloppy - Vista and XBox 360 are classic and costly examples.

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-1
September 23, 2011 8:43:41 PM

A simple VBScript or Registry Tweak will take care of that Metro Interface and that Stupid Ribbon for Blind people, just take every command or short cut and put on the desktop.

PhoneyVirus
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0
September 23, 2011 8:45:32 PM

I am riding on the notion that Microsoft understands their professional audience. Hopefully a Pro version will be released with all of the new bells and whistles (like the new task manager) sans Metro Poo-I. If the dev preview is anything like the full version than count me out. It is buggy and basically useless to me. The worst product I've seen come out of Microsoft in a long time. I have faith in them, however, they usually pull through and always impress.
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-1
September 23, 2011 8:46:32 PM

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but Wolfgang seems to have a very narrow vision. First, in the third paragraph he mentions smartphones and tablets, then puts this (iPad). The iPad is not a smart phone, nor is it the only tablet. I understand it is the most popular - so what. And why no specific smartphones named? Very narrow indeed. And please note, I don't hate Apple, I respect them - have to as my wife has a MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad 2 to my Win7 laptop, smartphone (Nexus S) and Asus Transformer 101.

Then the article states,
Quote:
Those of us who are 30+ years old will have to rethink the way we interact with computers.
Speak for yourself, and please don't brand me with your vague accusation that people over 30 have inflexible minds. I am way past 30, have worked with computers since the days of loading programs from cassette, using 8" floppies under CPM and have seen the changes first hand. I take these things in stride at worst, and when there is useful innovation I embrace it. As noted, I have a tablet and touch works beautifully for some things, but, as you suggest, it won't be the end all for user interface. I do a fair amount of video editing, and at this time, touch is too clunky to be really useful.

Then the article goes on a rant about germs, etc. Interesting, but it comes across as a bit obsessive compulsive. And as it notes, keyboards are already bad, but we manage to live with it.

Back to the narrow vision, yes, IF Win 8 forced everyone to use touch, it would die a necessary death. However, it will have room for both touch and keyboard/mouse. Will touch ever get so refined as to replace them? I don't know. I wouldn't mind if it did. But we need to read articles that see both the forest and the trees. Widen the vision a bit first, then the specific can be dealt with in a more informed and rational fashion.
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1
September 23, 2011 8:51:54 PM

Windows is always a very configurable OS.
The on/Off buttons are always usefull

I really dont see the problem, ppl is getting scared for a new look? Meh get real.
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2
September 23, 2011 8:52:23 PM

i'm just wondering what the hell is so wrong with Windows 7 ui that they couldnt' leave well enough alone i mean the vast majority of people are happy with Windows 7 so instead of trying to reinvent something that already works why not leave it as is....
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-2
September 23, 2011 9:04:14 PM

This will end up dominating the industry across all computing platforms
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2
September 23, 2011 9:21:18 PM

MS is making the same mistake they did with Vista. They're trying to copy Apple, which is really only a tiny niche market, and not listening to what the majority of people want. This is going to flop hard and most people will stay with XP and 7. Just watch.
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-1
September 23, 2011 9:27:24 PM

The touch interface has a big drawback in that there is no equivalent to the "Mouse Over" event. Some websites, for example, require you to hold your mouse pointer over a menu (without clicking) and then it automatically expands into a list where you can then click on a selection. Since the touch interface has already standardized that a "quick tap" = "left click" of the mouse, and the "touch and hold" = "right click", then what will users do to simulate hovering the mouse over an element?
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-1
September 23, 2011 9:46:11 PM

"Fact: You will write three emails on a traditional keyboard in the time you write one on a touchscreen today."

Correction: I will write 10 emails on a keyb in the time anyone wrotes 1 on a touchscreen today.

Touch is useless on any production PC. Leave it to toys (iPad) and POS, not desktop/notebook PC's.
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0
Anonymous
September 23, 2011 10:37:01 PM

Within a couple years, virtually all screens will be touch sensitive. Get used to it. Nothing says that a Desktop PC or laptop needs to be exclusively mouse/keyboard or exclusively touch. Users will be free to use whichever input mode is most convenient for a particular task. Even on a vertical screen, the touch interface will be the most convenient way to position windows and shrink or expand the contents, for example, whereas text entry, cut and paste, etc. will be done most conveniently with mouse and hardware keyboard.
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1
September 23, 2011 11:54:34 PM

Touchscreens are a useless gimick. The old mouse, keyboard, and Windows 7 interface are much easier to use. By the way, I'm 14. I just used that rfenabled registry hack on my Windows 8 VM, so now it looks just like Windows 7. The best registry hack I've ever used...
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0
Anonymous
September 23, 2011 11:55:25 PM

f-gomes""Correction: I will write 10 emails on a keyb in the time anyone wrotes 1 on a touchscreen today.


Just wow! Did you use a keyboard to type that out?
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1
September 23, 2011 11:57:08 PM

markbothwellWithin a couple years, virtually all screens will be touch sensitive. Get used to it. Nothing says that a Desktop PC or laptop needs to be exclusively mouse/keyboard or exclusively touch. Users will be free to use whichever input mode is most convenient for a particular task. Even on a vertical screen, the touch interface will be the most convenient way to position windows and shrink or expand the contents, for example, whereas text entry, cut and paste, etc. will be done most conveniently with mouse and hardware keyboard.

But will people use it? A friend of mine has a new HP Touchsmart, touchscreen. I tried it at first, cool, but soon forgot about it and went back to the keyboard and mouse. Sorta like the webcam on my laptop - I've never used it and completely forgot about it. It's there, but not particularly useful for me.
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-1
September 24, 2011 12:16:10 AM

What is with all the whining? I had no problems using a keyboard and mouse. I found the start/stop times to be much improved over win7, and all of my programs worked (even the super old copies of Premere Pro and Photoshop).

Am I going to buy Win8 for it's MetroUI? Absolutely not. Is it going to keep me from buying win8? Also absolutely not. The improvements on the desktop side are awesome, and MetroUI is a fine replacement for the oft unused start menu. Sure it needs work (like the scroll wheel working on more screens than just the start screen, or the ability to modify the grouping titles, or change the ugly defacto-green background), but it is in Dev (i.e. pre Alpha; much less Beta or public testing). I am sure it will be better by release time.

Also, I noticed that Metro apps refused to run on my netbook (acer aspire one) in either the 32 or 64bit flavors. Anyone else find this problem?
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2
September 24, 2011 12:21:06 AM

g-thorMaybe I'm in the minority here, but Wolfgang seems to have a very narrow vision. First, in the third paragraph he mentions smartphones and tablets, then puts this (iPad). The iPad is not a smart phone, nor is it the only tablet. I understand it is the most popular - so what. And why no specific smartphones named? Very narrow indeed. And please note, I don't hate Apple, I respect them - have to as my wife has a MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad 2 to my Win7 laptop, smartphone (Nexus S) and Asus Transformer 101.Then the article states, Speak for yourself, and please don't brand me with your vague accusation that people over 30 have inflexible minds. I am way past 30, have worked with computers since the days of loading programs from cassette, using 8" floppies under CPM and have seen the changes first hand. I take these things in stride at worst, and when there is useful innovation I embrace it. As noted, I have a tablet and touch works beautifully for some things, but, as you suggest, it won't be the end all for user interface. I do a fair amount of video editing, and at this time, touch is too clunky to be really useful.Then the article goes on a rant about germs, etc. Interesting, but it comes across as a bit obsessive compulsive. And as it notes, keyboards are already bad, but we manage to live with it.Back to the narrow vision, yes, IF Win 8 forced everyone to use touch, it would die a necessary death. However, it will have room for both touch and keyboard/mouse. Will touch ever get so refined as to replace them? I don't know. I wouldn't mind if it did. But we need to read articles that see both the forest and the trees. Widen the vision a bit first, then the specific can be dealt with in a more informed and rational fashion.


Welcome to Toms Hardware, Dont worry about Wolfie, he is crazy and most of us dont really read his articles because once you have read one then you have pretty much read them all. They are as follows; "The PC is dead/dying" "Anything about the next iPhone/pad is amazing groundbreaking news" and let us not forget "The PC is dead and dying because of the iPad". You get use to it after a while and still come back for the real hardware news published by others here.
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1
September 24, 2011 12:37:43 AM

CaedenVWhat is with all the whining? I had no problems using a keyboard and mouse. I found the start/stop times to be much improved over win7, and all of my programs worked (even the super old copies of Premere Pro and Photoshop).Am I going to buy Win8 for it's MetroUI? Absolutely not. Is it going to keep me from buying win8? Also absolutely not. The improvements on the desktop side are awesome, and MetroUI is a fine replacement for the oft unused start menu. Sure it needs work (like the scroll wheel working on more screens than just the start screen, or the ability to modify the grouping titles, or change the ugly defacto-green background), but it is in Dev (i.e. pre Alpha; much less Beta or public testing). I am sure it will be better by release time.Also, I noticed that Metro apps refused to run on my netbook (acer aspire one) in either the 32 or 64bit flavors. Anyone else find this problem?

Microsoft says that you need at least a 1024x768 screen res for metro apps, and I'm assuming you only have 1024x576 or 1024x600. I didn't have issues on my netbook, but that's 1366x768 (an AMD Zacate E350 thing).
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1
September 24, 2011 12:48:07 AM

Microsoft should be idiots, if they believe I will touch-interact with a 24" monitor. And how much will cost a 24" touchscreen with enough quality and speed for effective let's say engineering work? Is such device even exist?
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-3
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