The technology market is buzzing with news about Windows 8 after Microsoft showcased it in the recently held developer conference. It sure looks promising. But what would motivate a user/company to upgrade to Windows 8 if they have recently invested in Windows 7.

  • UI experience: Windows 8 has embraced Metro language to the core. It is similar to the Windows Phone 7 interface. In Windows 8, live tiles are used to display the required information from the start. It is almost like the gadgets that are displayed in desktop sidebar. Tiles are user interface elements replacing icons. They can be pinned/unpinned in the Start Screen. Windows 8 Metro will be powered by IE 10. The Metro interface is powered by Trident rendering engine and Chakra JavaScript engine from IE 10. Three instances of IE10 will be running: Metro and apps, Metro style IE 10 and desktop IE 10.
  • Faster boot: This is going to enable the computer to launch the screen within seconds of pushing the power button.
  • Windows Explorer: In Windows 8, user can copy, move, rename and delete files especially large groups of large files faster and with better control. Multiple conflicts can be seen in a single box. Menu and toolbars have been replaced in ribbon layouts. Contextual tabs help the user in finding the tools based on the task being performed.
  • Multitasking: Although multiple applications may be running simultaneously only those displayed on the screen should draw power. The rest are in freeze-dried state not drawing any processing power unless they are made active again.
  • Task Manager: The task manager is redesigned to provide more insight on the processing power and the power used by the apps.
  • Windows Store: Metro apps will be made available only through Windows Store. The store is similar to Mac App Store.
  • Anti-Virus: Windows Defender would be an anti-virus suite. It will be automatically turned off on installing other anti-virus software.

These are some basic features which I found interesting after reading through different features of Windows 8. Windows 8 is supposedly going to work well with touchscreen as well mouse and keyboard. The features are leaning towards touch enabled computers mainly. To learn about Windows 8 features terminology you can click here. References for this post have been taken from cio.com.au.

~ Ramya

If the leaked documents are to be believed then it looks like Microsoft is paying serious attention to Apple. As per the documents, the Apple touch has been setting in, in Windows 8. The ideas seem to have indicated broad ideas and not specifics.

From what can be read from the images displayed at Microsoft Kitchen, Microsoft seems to have divided its Windows 8 product cycle into 3 main phases namely: Planning, Development and Readiness, which is not different from what many ISV’s do. But what is interesting is the ‘Focus on creating great Dell + Windows Experiences’ in the Readiness phase.

The document outlines few key areas for Windows 8 namely:

  • Fast startup – Focus on improved boot time and on improving the time for resuming from sleep
  • Simplicity and ease of use
  • Make Windows more power efficient
  • Windows Store similar to Apple’s App-Store
  • Increased support for location based services
  • Facial recognition to authenticate users, with auto
  • Push button reset

As for form factors, Microsoft seems to have three main focus areas i.e. Slate, Laptop and All-in-One, which essentially means that Windows based Slate devices are likely to make an appearance at some point.

(Source: Microsoft Kitchen, cnet.com)

Last week I read that Microsoft Office Accounting would no longer be distributed after November 16, 2009.

“We have determined that existing free templates within Office used with Excel [were] a better option for small businesses, and the Microsoft Dynamics ERP products were appropriate for mid-range organizations,” Microsoft stated in a FAQ on the company’s Web site regarding the discontinuation.

All Microsoft Office Accounting products in North America and the U.K. are affected, including Office Accounting Express, Office Accounting Professional and Professional Plus and Small Business Accounting.”

This is not the first time that Microsoft has discontinued its small business  / home accounting softwares. Microsoft had earlier also discontinued Microsoft Money.

But then, Microsoft has for long been competing against Intuit’s products. So in a way, the discontinuation of Microsoft Money and Office Accounting will only benefit competitors especially Intuit with its QuickBooks & Quicken and Sage with its Peachtree.

~ Ramya