Windows 8 In Videos: An Operating System Reimagined?

Tablet And Smartphone: Keyboard

Touch Keyboard

Windows 8 Preview: Touch Keyboard, Metro UI

Metro really shines on tablets and smartphones. We’re specifically referring to the touch keyboard, which comes in three modes: thumb-only, full, and handwriting recognition. No matter what mode you're using, the virtual keyboard (or writing panel) appears docked at the bottom of the screen. But you can move it around as a floating window.

Windows 8 Preview: Touch Keyboard - Handwriting Recognition, Metro UI

The color scheme is similar to Honeycomb, but that’s just one similarity to Android. For mixed input, you still need to use a function key to alternate the layout because there’s no dedicated row for numbers. The awesome part of the interface comes from the innovative thumbs-only keyboard layout. It’s undoubtedly intended for tablets and smartphones, and in our opinion, the keyboard will speed up typing compared to the hunt-and-peck approach encouraged by virtual keyboards.

There is one slight quirk. Unless you have the Samsung developer tablet handed out at BUILD, the touch keyboard doesn’t appear in Metro mode. On our Asus Eee Slate EP121, we can only access the touch keyboard in the Vanilla UI. This also holds true for our desktop equipped with Wacom’s Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch.

Windows 8 Preview: On-Screen Keyboard, Vanilla

If you're using a regular desktop or notebook, there’s no way to access the virtual interface. This is a bummer for developers because they can't test their programs as they'd appear on more mobile devices. The only thing you can use is the On-Screen Keyboard, which is intended to provide accessibility for those with visual disabilities, but it lacks touch functionality.

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  • whysobluepandabear
    Will this make viewing porn a more enjoyable, efficient task?
    25
  • stonedatheist
    inb4 metro haters: it can be disabled!
    19
  • noob2222
    stonedatheistinb4 metro haters: it can be disabled!

    The Metro UI is clean-looking, to be sure. But once you dig deeper, you’ll see a familiar face. Click on the desktop tile and you’re greeted with the old Windows interface. The main difference is that there’s no Start menu, at least not the one with which you're familiar. As a result, opening an application is an unfamiliar process in Windows 8. If you’re searching for a particular piece of software, you now need to move your mouse over the bottom left-hand corner, select Search, and then Apps from the toggled panel.

    Even with Metro disabled, its still lacking heavily on the "standard windows"

    IMO if they move this direction, they should move to 2 style os releases. Metro and windows.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • stonedatheist
    inb4 metro haters: it can be disabled!
    19
  • Pyree
    "Even if you don’t own a touch-enabled device, you should expect a completely unique experience."

    Uniquly bad experience if you use mouse and keyboard with Metro.


    "While this interface is clean and easy to use, Adobe Flash Player is missing, and Microsoft doesn’t plan to include it as part of the Metro interface."

    May be because it is already so much like a flash app.

    We are unhappy about the Metro app can only be closed by end process too:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/2-73-thoughts-windows

    There are way too many unnecessary apps on Metro and you cannot multi select the ones you don't want to delete them, which sucks. (Or maybe I haven't work that out yet, correct me and tell me how that can be done please if I am wrong.)

    On the other hand it is light OS with low hardware requirement and boot fast:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/1-73-windows-pros-cons

    Compatibility with old software and driver seems good, although only very preliminary:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/1-73-windows-pros-cons
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/2-73-thoughts-windows

    IMO, it is a big mistake to have Metro activated by default. Metro is not good for device without touch at all. Since the majority of computer still use mouse and keyboard, Metro should be invisible and you turn it on with a button, as oppose to Metro is the default and you have to turn it off by using 3rd party software or going through regedit (many people don't or don't like touching the registry). MS got the GUI priority totally wrong.
    7
  • lradunovic77
    MS got everything wrong since Windows XP. Recent news is that Windows 7 just barely took over Windows XP Market. With Windows 8 coming soon, i see Windows XP somehow to be still dominant. That tells me one thing. People do not want what MS delivers. When you take Windows XP x64 Edition vs Windows Vista/7 and soon 8. They offer nothing worth over Windows XP.

    Speaking of Metro, worst thing ever.
    -21
  • mbryans
    I love Windows 7. But Windows 8 look simple ugly and heavy.
    0
  • whysobluepandabear
    Will this make viewing porn a more enjoyable, efficient task?
    25
  • americanherosandwich
    I for one don't want to have to navigate by touch and have to clean up a 28" monitor screen from finger grease. Ship it with a newer and better Kinect and have it integrated into Windows 8, and they have something going.
    4
  • Pyree
    Forgot to mention the Secure Boot "feature" implemented by window 8 whcih can potentially lock the hardware to window 8 on certified window 8 hardware. If we want the OS locked to our hardware, we have other OS to do that. Linux dual boot users won't be happy with it at all.
    3
  • dafin0
    At first i didnt like metro but after a good few hours of use it really grows on you. i think for most people its going to be great.

    As said in this review, i dont like how you cant close apps. this makes switching from one app to another a real pain

    i think the biggest problem Win 8 will face is people not giving it a chance, sadly most people are really quick to judge and that could be its down fall
    4
  • Pyree
    238245 said:
    i think the biggest problem Win 8 will face is people not giving it a chance, sadly most people are really quick to judge and that could be its down fall


    I think a successful product is one where it convince people quickly and will like it, not one where you actually have to use it for a long time to get used to a product by adjusting your habit. I give credit for Fruit company being able to achieve that (although their product doesn't work for me). W7 was easy to like, but after trying window 8, I am still not convinced. It is just too much of a change to have Metro showing up when you click window start and that change doesn't let you to be more productive/provide better ease of use with mouse and keyboard. I know it can be disabled, but the priority is wrong. Metro is a feature which you enable on touch device, not a feature where you have to disable on mouse and keyboard. Hopefully MS can change that order. Metro can stay, it is useful in some case. I will disable it because I don't have the hardware to take advantage of it.
    12
  • jdwii
    People who used computers for 10 years will hate 8 so much on a laptop and a desktop. I hope Microsoft lets us change 8 to look like 7 unless i'm not buying it. Why can't Microsoft just make a faster smaller more secure windows why do they have to change. Make a W8 lite edition and bring it to the tablets but don't make windows 8 look like media center.
    6
  • mayankleoboy1
    whats the use of an article on a piece of software thats still atleast an year in future?
    -3
  • ravewulf
    stonedatheistinb4 metro haters: it can be disabled!

    With a caveat:

    Quote:
    Right now, that's only possible through a third party tool
    1
  • amdfangirl
    Sure, Windows 8 looks pretty cool with a new interface.

    But is it really different to Windows 7 in what it can achieve?

    I really am not in the mood to shell out $100 for an operating system which looks a little shinier unless it grants me some advantage, like Windows 7 and TRIM support etc.
    4
  • noob2222
    stonedatheistinb4 metro haters: it can be disabled!

    The Metro UI is clean-looking, to be sure. But once you dig deeper, you’ll see a familiar face. Click on the desktop tile and you’re greeted with the old Windows interface. The main difference is that there’s no Start menu, at least not the one with which you're familiar. As a result, opening an application is an unfamiliar process in Windows 8. If you’re searching for a particular piece of software, you now need to move your mouse over the bottom left-hand corner, select Search, and then Apps from the toggled panel.

    Even with Metro disabled, its still lacking heavily on the "standard windows"

    IMO if they move this direction, they should move to 2 style os releases. Metro and windows.
    13
  • Anonymous
    I guess Microsoft uses the Odd/Even rule.
    0
  • bokuden
    Looks terrible. I won't be buying it.
    0
  • Pyree
    I though my 1st comment was fair and in depth, but I am getting -3. I will be really pissed if it gets 1 more negative and hidden. Must be the shock value of my first line and people don't read further.
    -8
  • stonedatheist
    ravewulfWith a caveat:


    key words: right now. It's because it's in pre-beta state. The real caveat was pointed out by somebody else:

    noob2222The Metro UI is clean-looking, to be sure. But once you dig deeper, you’ll see a familiar face. Click on the desktop tile and you’re greeted with the old Windows interface. The main difference is that there’s no Start menu, at least not the one with which you're familiar. As a result, opening an application is an unfamiliar process in Windows 8. If you’re searching for a particular piece of software, you now need to move your mouse over the bottom left-hand corner, select Search, and then Apps from the toggled panel.Even with Metro disabled, its still lacking heavily on the "standard windows"IMO if they move this direction, they should move to 2 style os releases. Metro and windows.


    This was certainly disappointing to read. It may not be too much of a change because it appears you still can pin programs to the taskbar and of course there's the desktop too but the real change is the versatility of the start menu. I hardly use it at all to open programs even though it has the most used programs there but I have shortcuts to just about everything I need on the computer for management such as having the control panel as a menu. You could probably do most of the same things directly from items pinned on the taskbar such as pinning file locations on the pinned windows explorer menu but it isn't quite the same. It would've been nice to have the win7 start menu when disabling metro but I think I'll live.
    5
  • Pyree
    ^Start menu is enabled when you disable Metro.
    2
  • stonedatheist
    PyreeI though my 1st comment was fair and in depth, but I am getting -3. I will be really pissed if it gets 1 more negative and hidden. Must be the shock value of my first line and people don't read further.


    well there's also the fact that you don't have to mess with the registry or use 3rd party software to disable Metro (except right now due to the pre-beta status). I pretty much agreed with you on everything else, so a +1 for you.

    Pyree^Start menu is enabled when you disable Metro.


    I never said the start menu is disabled after disabling metro
    3