Report: Windows 8 Tablets Set to Start Testing the Market by Q4 2012
Windows 8 is set to hit the market by the last quarter of 2012, likely just in time for the holiday shopping spree that sellers target to boost their financial results before ending the year. Microsoft

The newly launched Microsoft's Windows 8 Consumer Preview sparked up with one million times download in 24 hours after being released. The software was made available as a free download by the company Thursday, and the Windows 8 development team announced this information by tweeting, One day later ... one million downloads of the consumer preview.

This was definite trigger of a success for an operating system still in beta. Like the Developer Preview released back in September, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a step toward bringing Windows 8 and its touch-compatible user interface to tablets, laptops and desktops later this year.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: What We Know

With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to reinvent the traditional PC experience. The software is an attempt to compile the features of Microsoft's Window smartphone, Google's Android and Apple's iPhone, all on the computer screen.

As a replacement for the Start Menu on which users have relied on since Windows 95, the 8 upgrade has been introduced with a new Start screen, sorted in a vivid colorful grid of app tiles.

Microsoft has named this interface as Metro, and it would serve as the home page for all Window 8 users including the desktop, laptop and tablet ones.

With the Metro user interface, the company has also launched the new Windows Store, which would avail the users to purchase and install touch-friendly 'Metro-style' apps. This would offer the users with best features of any smartphone in a form of built-in apps like Internet Explorer 10, a mail app, a calendar app, a weather app, and a photo viewer.

The company's idea is to bring a common platform for both, keyboard and mouse users and also the touchscreen tablet users. However, if the users are finding it difficult to adjust to the complicated, professional features of the new interface, then the old version desktop is also available for download in the app store.

According to the latest known features, within the Metro Interface, users would be able to launch the classic Window 7 desktop and have access to Windows Explorer, a desktop version of Internet Explorer and other apps. However, for ARM-based Windows 8 devices, the users would be able to run only built-in apps from Microsoft, including a preloaded version of Office 15.

What are the plus and minus points of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Plus Points

Browsing for Apps: With blocks of rectangular app icons sprawled across a long, horizontally-scrolling list on the Metro UI, Windows 8 Consumer Preview has a diversified list of apps which are accessible with a right click.

Each category gets its own home page with featured apps, curated lists and links for top paid and top free apps. And the pattern in which these categories are dispersed across the main screen, has made browsing quite easy and interesting. However, it has a downside of getting to a particular category, as it can be slightly frustrating without a master list.

Windows 8 App Store: Yes, the company's latest version, comes with Microsoft's new operating system's app store, The Windows Store. The new app store has proved out to be really swift and is also free for the users currently.

Apps are well categorized into groups like Social, Entertainment, Photos, Music & Videos, Books and reference, News, Food, Shopping, and more. And the software has made it quite easy to swipe back and forth through them.

Also, there is a Spotlight section, along with tiles for Top Paid, Top Free, New releases and All Stars. Installing and uninstalling apps is a one-click process, in which Windows 7 apps can also be downloaded and installed, similar to the earlier version.

The Charms Bar: There is an update of the Charms bar, which can be experienced by moving the mouse to the right edge of the screen. Microsoft has designed these charms to provide users with a faster mode to navigate to key tasks in Windows 8. This feature also boasts app-specific settings, PC settings like Wi-Fi and volume, a sharing button, a devices button and further, it would also allow the user to go to the Start screen fast.

The Right Click Gesture: Microsoft has added to its new Windows 8 - The Right Click Power. It's for the user, when they right click or swipe down from the top or bottom of the screen on a tablet, menus will pop out on the top or the bottom and would be filled with app-specific options. This can contribute to a lot of possibilities for app creators.

Start Screen Customization: The completely revamped the Window 8 Metro screen background -- Start screen can feature customizable live tiles that automatically change and update in real-time.

The user can relocate apps on the screen can easily swipe them around and create their own groups of apps. Renaming can also be done by clicking the zoom out button on the lower right corner of the screen, followed by a right click on the name of the group, which is required to be changed.

Negative Points

The Multitasking UI: Multitasking in Windows 8 has definitely improved. However, talking about next level interface and the delayed launch, it could have got some really drastic or fast interface.

Perhaps, it may be good for tablet-users. However, with a mouse, the four corners interface is a bit uneasy, where users can unexpectedly perform unintended actions. It can also be a little clumsy to drag apps -- where you need them to go or to stop them, using a mouse. And to top that, all the apps run only full-screen for PC users, which can make it difficult for the user to multitask.

The Mouse Mess: Well, for the PC users, equipped with a mouse and keyboard, it would be quite a problem to get used to Windows 8.

As moving the mouse wheel up and down will move the Metro UI to left and right. And the Charms UI would require the user to go to the right edge of the screen, which is not at all mouse friendly.

The Classic Desktop: The mix and match of Metro environment and classic Window 7 desktop (which is not needed now) can completely destroy the interaction for the users. To switch from one Window to a Task Manager, the user has to go all the way to desktop, instead of opening it directly through one or two clicks.

For managing any file or folder, the user has to go back to the classic desktop from Metro UI, which can complicate the migrating feature for any user. Hence, we can just hope that they fix this soon and migrate all the features in the Metro style UI.


It would be a fair wrap-up by saying that the users sporting a touch-based hardware platform to run the Windows 8 consumer preview would experience a far better performance as compared to the majority laptop and desktop users - especially, if you have a system which has a keyboard and mouse connected to your computer screen.