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My thoughts on Windows 8, from being at the Build con

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  • My thoughts on Windows 8, from being at the Build con

    So, I've been at the Build conference all this week and have had a great time seeing the keynotes and technical sessions, as well as getting to play with the dev hardware they gave us.

    I know there's a thread already about a Windows 8 FE, but I just wanted to keep this in general about Windows 8 for those interested.

    So, by now you've probably read about the new touch UI. I wasn't a WinPhone user so I was skeptical at first, but after having used it these past few days I think it's very usable, clean, and responsive.

    The OS is extremely fast booting up. On these tablets they gave us, I'm seeing about 5-10 second boot up from cold start. Resume from sleep is instant. Really impressive. Faster than my MacBook Pro with SSD.

    I immediately went to the NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and TI boots asking about ARM hardware. It's quite a ways away still unfortunately. I think there's going to be a lot of interesting possibilities for embedded hobbyists if we can get our hands on ARM systems. Some of the vendors I talked to were already claiming 10 hours of battery life. Intel is also showing off their new fanless chips in a dev tablet, but no word on dates or tech specs yet.

    From a development stand point, I'm pretty impressed with what they've done. Metro apps all use a common runtime that is accessible from C#/VB, C++, and JavaScript. The Windows Runtime is written in native code. That is why the system is so responsive and has low resource usage. If you're a decent web developer, you can now become a Windows app developer. As scary as that sounds, I can see why MS is doing that to attract so many devs. Hopefully this doesn't end up as VB did in the 90's with so much ****ty code by VB programmers though. No offense... At a minimum, I'm sure we'll be seeing web-type security vulnerabilities manifested in apps from web developers. MS has done a lot to be as secure by default as possible, but there's always something that will come up.

    Unfortunately they still have quite a while to go with development. This is not even an "alpha", it's just a dev preview. Most likely we'll be seeing it in late 2012 which is unfortunate, because as usual MS is 2 years late to the party. Based on what I've seen though, they're fashionably late and have a lot of great potential.

    As an iPhone and iPad user, I think the Win8 tablet could be a serious contender because it's a totally different device. I think Android tablets haven't been doing well because they're just trying to match the iPad, which they just can't. What MS is trying to do is re-imagine what a mobile computing platform can and should be. Not just a device to consume content, but it can also be a full featured PC if you need it to be. The inking capabilities are great too. Apple fanboys may not want to hear it (since they've likely never used it and are just following what "Chairman Steve" says), but a stylus does have its place. I used my tablet and stylus to take notes in EverNote this week. Much more convenient than handwritten notes on paper and a lot faster than trying to type things out on my iPad.

    Later,
    Silvio
    EWF, HORM, MinLogon on XP.

    Zotac ION Atom N330, 2GB low-profile RAM, M3-ATX
    Win Embedded Std 2011 RC
    OCZ Vertex Turbo 30GB SSD
    Lilliput 629 Transflective, WRX Screen Mount
    BlueSoleil BT, i-Blue GM-2 GPS, DirectedHD Radio, Andrea Mic
    VoomPC 2

  • #2
    Thanks for your thoughts! It's great to have "one of our own" at these events.
    TruckPC - gutted, being used for test setup
    BoatPC - All in 1 in cuddy, N7 using VNC on dash, RR
    BlazerPC - Nexus 7 with Timur's USBROM

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    • #3
      I have to admit that I agree with everything thing you have said about windows 8 Preview!

      MY personal install however does not have the fast boot or resume times for some reason, about 2 minutes cold boot and about 20 second resume on a fresh install I wonder if other people here have the fast times or not because I wonder if they used hardware optimized versions at the Con

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      • #4
        Our tablets have UEFI and an SSD. Those two are key to the fast boot times.

        The tablets they gave us are very nice, but the Intel chips are still power hungry and generate a lot of heat. Although, I think the 3G modem may be causing a lot of the heat as well. The hotel WiFi is down because there are so many people on it, so I'm using the 3G modem. AT&T gave us 1 year 2GB/month free!

        AMD is here also showing shipping Windows 7 tablets running Windows 8. They were claiming around 5-6 hours battery life. Not sure if they're any better with fan noise though.
        EWF, HORM, MinLogon on XP.

        Zotac ION Atom N330, 2GB low-profile RAM, M3-ATX
        Win Embedded Std 2011 RC
        OCZ Vertex Turbo 30GB SSD
        Lilliput 629 Transflective, WRX Screen Mount
        BlueSoleil BT, i-Blue GM-2 GPS, DirectedHD Radio, Andrea Mic
        VoomPC 2

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        • #5
          Thanks for sharing! Very interesting read. I'm a big fan of the windows 8, but I'm disappointed there's no beta yet. I holding up installing it on my tablet PC because I fear there's going to be too many issues. I'll probably do it anyway...
          Worklogs: 08 Sequoia Platinum Carputer (In Progress!)
          Skin: MetroSex on the Beach preview

          07 Infiniti Fx35 (done!) & 06 Infiniti M35 (gone...)

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