After participating in the Windows 8 ‘Build’ event few days ago, I came back home full of ideas and thoughts about the impressive stuff Microsoft showed in the opening session.

No doubt, adding the Metro Style UI to Windows is a bold move. Extremely bold, considering the fact that the latest products to use Metro style user interface (Zune HD, Windows Phone 7) did not create enough traction in terms of sales.

So the question remains: will this bold move put Microsoft back in the mainstream of the mobile world (namely tablets and even [as a non-direct result] smartphones)?

Here are 3 scenarios I can think of:

Scenario #1: Nothing Changes:

Windows 8 is released (end of 2012?), the desktop version is similar to Windows 7, the Metro Style UI gets a lot of positive reviews and praises, but similarly to Windows Phone 7, it gains little traction. Consumers either love it or hate it.

The result: Windows continues to dominant the PC market, but the PC market continues to slow down. Windows fails to penetrate the tablets realm, while iPad continues to lead the constantly growing tablets market and Android continues to gain wild momentum in all mobile fronts: smartphones, tablets, combined netbooks, webtops, etc.

Computers world is changing, but Microsoft fails to lead the revolution. Nothing changes.

 

Scenario #2: We Are Saved!

Windows 8 is released with a wide range of cutting edge tablets that can run more than 6 (hopefully even more than that) hours and give a decent fight to the iPad. We are all saved. No need to look after productivity tools that never reach perfection  – we now have full windows running on tablets.

Metro Style UI becomes the most admirable user interface ever, consumers either love it or hate it, most of them adore it.

The combination of a stylish, simple, fresh, tablet optimized UI with the power of a real Windows with all of its productivity tools creates an all-in-one beast. Something nothing can match with. Not the iPad or  even Android.

  • "Let’s see you run Visual Studio or Photoshop on your iToy", are laughing Windows 8 owners at Apple fanboys…
  • "Still no decent Excel in your Android crap-let?" – they mock at the Google fans…

The result: Tablets are evolving from luxury toys into the next generation of portable PC’s – computers that can serve both as real working stations or as entertainment tools. The revolution is led by Microsoft because both Apple and Google cannot turn their smartphone focused OS into a PC competitor.

Microsoft wins the game (for now): iPads and Android tablets are slowing down fast, while Windows 8 (and Window Phone 7 followsh) both ride on the success of the Metro Design. People are buying Windows 8 tablets with docking stations that turn them into a full-capacity desktops. Metro design becomes standard, and as a result, Windows Phone 7 becomes the second biggest mobile OS after Android (just like Gartner said it will…)

Steve Jobs returns to Apple (hopefully) and the company secretly starts building the next biggest invention ever: the iSky: an invisible gadget that lets you fly in the sky.

 

Scenario #3: Windows 8 is a disaster. It’s all over:

Metro UI is full of bugs and too limited to allow actual work. Metro apps lack real multi-tasking while "old fashion" apps still drain battery so fast the tablets are completely dead after 2 hours. Overall experience is poor, users end up switching from the slate interface (Metro) to the desktop one, over and over, and over…

Consumers either love Metro or hate it. Most of them HATE it. The reviews are horrible, Vista is a sweet dream from the past comparing to this Windows 8 hell. After a short while, no one builds Windows tablets, and Windows Phone 7 suffers from it as well.

The result: Game is over. Windows 8 is the last of the Mohicans. PC world cease to exists.
Post-PC era begins; for real this time, everything is 100% pure mobile, Google Android is the indisputable king, running on just about any device out there regardless to the form factor, replacing Windows as the leading operating system for both pleasure and work. iPad is the jewel. Windows is no more.

 

I know what option I’m betting on… do you?

Originally written for the mobile spoon.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I have an Apple iPad 2 and love it. But, the UI is underwhelming and it is amazing that notifications are only just now being integrated. Because of the Icons used by Apple, I cannot see anything than a number on them to make them “live” or interactive in any way. Fail for Apple. I watched the comparison video between Apple iPad 2 and the Metro UI on a Windows tablet and I was REALLY diggin’ it. For some reason the UI of Metro on a phone is too much for me visually, but on a tablet it is amazing. As you said, Office and photoshop on a Win Tablet? Things seems to be moving even faster away from PCs.

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  3. wtf? more horse shit? metro ui is full of bugs and drains battery? where are you test results to support these claims? i have seen none of that and i am running dev preview builds on 3 machines.

    where are the links to these “bad” reviews? where are you crowd sourcing results? everyone i’ve seen touch it, use it or even seen video of metro is impressed. not sure where you’re pulling this from.

    you might also want to rethink the way you think. Metro UI is NOT a default UI for PCs. it is optional. dig a little deeper, do some more research then come again.

    after you’ve gained a solid understanding that metro UI (and its not even metro ui… its metro ui “like”) then you can understand windows 8 is the best operating system we’ve ever seen…and its only a dev preview. it will put apple out of the pc business for sure.

    the PC is going no where.

  4. @ramon: i think previous versions of windows have set a precedent .p

    My actual prediction is:

    People realize the limits of tablets and with the new processors coming up, more slates that are full function OS’ start coming about. Tablets and PCs converge. You no longer need to choose between portability and usability. Microsoft will have the lion’s share, followed by Apple. Android will fall into a distant third.

  5. This hack is brought to you by Herg-A-Fied Services.

    When all you can do is cry and cry and cry Herg-A-Fied Services hears that and throws it back in your face just to shut you up!!!!!

    How to Disable the Windows 8 Metro User Interface and get the normal Windows Start Menu back:

    Start the Windows Registry Editor by starting the Windows Task Manager. Once the Task Manager is open, click on File, then Run, and type regedit and press the OK button. The Windows Registry editor will open and you should navigate to this key:

    hkey_current_user\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\explorer

    Under that key you should see a value labeled RPEnabled. Change this value’s data from 1 to 0. You should now have the normal desktop with the normal Windows Start Menu.

    To enable the Metro User Inteface, simply reverse the change by setting RPEnabled to 1.

  6. The problem is this. What Windows OS gained little traction? Even the most epic failure named ME, gained far more traction than any other OS. Vista, which is not nearly as bad as most people claim, sold way over 200 million copies. Windows 7, over 420 million to date. Every Windows gains a lot of traction. Some more than others.

    So you’re first scenario isn’t going to happen. Windows 8 will gain a lot of traction.

    Your second scenario is very possible. In fact, I heard from numerous people at the BUILD event who overheard people saying they “couldn’t believe this was Windows,” in a good way.

    You third scenario is not even remotely possible in my opinion.

    As for Metro being full of bugs, it’s not even in beta state, and it still runs very fast and very smooth. Yes, some things are not ready and there are a few glitches. But considering the extremely early state, I’m shocked it runs as well as it does. In fact, I would even call it full of bugs now. It certainly won’t be in the final state.

    Regardless of what the power users think, they are an extreme minority. 90% of the people who use Windows are tired of the complexity of full OSes. They want something simpler, more intuitive, more elegeant, and more pleasant. They’ll get that in Windows 8, by a country mile.

    As for success, it will achieve that. Whether it is as successful as Windows 7, we’ll see. It’s possible it won’t be simply because people have already upgraded to Windows 7, and might not be in a hurry to upgrade again.

  7. The fears about the UI being buggy or resource-intensive are likely either (1) a prediction based upon past (?) MS stereotypes, or (2) a warning that IF THEY ARE, then MS’s unified strategy will fail.

    For myself, I welcome our alien overlords. Er…that is, I welcome the unification of OS across “all three screens.” It’s the sort of move that would turn a tablet into a viable option for me. It’s the sort of move that would make my choice of smartphone obvious. It’s the sort of move that would eliminate a number of minor annoyances about mobile convenience (or lack thereof).

    For the record, I’ve never had any problem with Windows (except for the abomination that was ME, which caused me no end of headaches in my role as the unofficially designated ‘tech guy’ at work). Most of the Vista-bashing was unwarranted bandwagoning or griping about being moved from the “good ol’ days” into preparations for the very-necessary future. (I’ll concede that there were indeed niche problems/incompatibilities, but even most of those were widely advertised before the OS came out.) So my guess is that Windows 8 will be solid and respectable. It’s obviously not a ‘bridge’ OS like ME was, but rather is the focus of their forward development.

    Nonetheless, I agree that a crappy implementation will totally sabotage their efforts to make a splash. Despite all the reasons that I’m looking forward to Windows 8, I’ll go in a different direction if it isn’t functional for me.

  8. i think, M$ shouldn’t put metro on non touchscreen devices (normal PCs, Laptop) because it annoys me a lot :'(

  9. Ok, option #1 all the way. What will change? Nothing. Nothing at all. And people will hate the metro interface. You already see it all over the internet. Oh, and no one will make touch monitors that are affordable over the beautiful 24″ LED widescreen monitors that already sell for $150 when the economy is in the crapper. Photoshop with 6 hour battery life? And you don’t actually close programs? Icons now have only one metro-sensual color down from the 16 million in the last version? I don’t even get that. Yup… #1.

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