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Computers News

Is Windows 8 an attempt to create a united Windows?

It has been nearly two weeks now since Microsoft released its latest operating system: Windows 8. Windows 8 is probably the most extreme overhaul Microsoft have given its operating systems to date.

It would appear that Microsoft’s aim is to unify all devices with one standard operating system – which works on desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Since the launch of Windows 7 just over three years ago, tablets have revolutionised the technology market – when Windows 7 was being developed, they didn’t exist. Windows Phone – the mobile operating system family – was also not around when Windows 7 was launched.

Until recently, the general perception of Microsoft was that it was falling behind in the rapidly evolving technology industry. Microsoft appear to have been aware of this, and that is reflected in the changes and developments they have made with Windows 8.

Tablets and smartphones are becoming widespread and more heavily depended upon than ever before, so Microsoft has moved to ensure that its new operating system works seamlessly with all our devices.

To do this the firm has simplified the range of operating systems that it offers. If you wanted to purchase Windows XP, then you could choose from XP Home, Professional, Media Center Edition and 64-bit Edition – among others. Vista made the choice even harder with Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate and then other 64 bit variants to choose from. Windows 7 similarly offered many different versions of what is arguable the same operating system – give or take a few features.

Microsoft Windows 8If you want to buy Windows 8, your choice is much simpler: Windows RT, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Microsoft believes that those three variations of Windows 8 are all the consumer will ever need, no matter what their device or needs. Windows 8 and its three variations will (Microsoft believes) cater for all uses of the operating system (e.g. educational use, entertainment use, business use, etc.) and all devices that you might want to use it on – i.e. tablets, smartphones, desktops and laptops.

Windows 8 is a bold move by Microsoft, and it appears to be working for them – at least at the moment. I get the perception that the industry is a little taken aback by the release.

Major Features

There is no-doubt in the fact that Windows 8 is a major change from the operating systems we are used to from Microsoft, but what are the most notable changes?

  • No start button – for the first time since its introduction in 1995, Microsoft have decided to remove the iconic start button from the operating system. It is possible to get the button back if you want, but its not how the operating system is designed.
  • Touch-enabled – all three variations of Windows 8 are touch screen compatible. If your computer supports multitouch, then you will be able to control your PC via touch! All versions also support the conventional mouse and keyboard.
  • Cross device compatibility – Windows 8 can be run on tablets as well as laptops and desktops.
  • Tiles replace the desktop – no longer does the operating system revolve around the desktop, as it has done for so long, users now access software and applications via a start screen which is a series of ’tile’ style menus – similar to the way many smartphones operate. Windows Phone 8 and Xbox also run a similar tile welcome screen interface. The desktop is still there, just not the main focus.
Windows 8 tyle start screen
Windows 8 new tile style start screen

So, what do these changes mean to me and you? Well it would appear that there is a really big move towards more integrated, purpose built systems, or as they are starting to become known all in ones. This is mainly due to the touch screen capabilities that Windows 8 offers.

Devices which need fewer input devices (like mice and keyboards) and have inbuilt screens are really those best suited to Windows 8. If you want to see some examples, take a look at some of the all in ones from Ebuyer.

What are your thoughts on Windows 8? Do you like the idea of a more united Windows, or do you prefer your devices to work independently?

Categories
Gadgets News Smartphones

What is the future for RIM?

The BlackBerry 7 smartphoneBlackBerry phones are thought to be among the safest in the world. Almost all politicians use them. But nevertheless, RIM has reported a very big drop in sales and revenues (about 40%) in comparison with the previous year, and this tendency has been observed for several years already. Besides, the release of new Blackberry 10 has been delayed up to the beginning of 2013, the sales of Blackberry 7 isn’t at the levels wanted, the company has to cut up to five thousand job places. The chain of total misfortunes has followed RIM for the past time. So, many specialists say that Blackberry is dying. Is it so? What can RIM do to improve its prospects?

Today RIM has several possible solutions, but all of them require total change in company’s work and specialization. And here they are:

  1. Licensing RIM software to other companies. One of the possible ways for RIM to get out of the crisis is to let other companies to use its Blackberry operation system. It may lead to the increase of the popularity of the OS (just like it was with Android) when people will get a chance to choose among different hardware solutions.
  2. Sale or license of the patents. It may be a good variant to let other corporations to use the patents, but it won’t make any contribution to innovative development of RIM what can lead to the further drop of the positions. It may happen just because money isn’t the most important thing in mobile development today; it is more for innovations in this sphere. Who is smarter gets more profit.
  3. Focus on hardware development. It is quite opposite solution to the first one mentioned. As a variant RIM can start developing good hardware with installing some other operating systems, like Android or Windows Mobile (the latter would be more reasonable as the number of manufacturers that develop phones for Windows Mobile isn’t very big now and the niche isn’t taken yet).
  4. Selling of RIM. Of course, it is the worst variant of all, but if there are no changes in the situation, the owners will have to do it. However, it would mean the end of Blackberry as a trend.

No matter what decision is taken, the era of great changes for everyone who is somehow connected to RIM is coming. Let’s hope that these changes will be for good and we will see Blackberry phones in top 5 of best-selling phones in the world accompanied by iOS, Android and Windows Mobile phones.