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.
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.