Windows 8: Lease of life for the laptop or PC-killer? You decide

‘Open a wider world’, says Microsoft as it markets the eighth edition of its Windows operating system.

You’ve opened a can of worms, says a section of early adopters.

‘A beautiful start,’ proclaims Microsoft.

It’s a non-starter, retort critics.

“Windows 8 brings life back to the laptop format,” declares Andy Baul Lewis, Director, Information and Communication Technologies Practice, Frost & Sullivan.

Windows 8 killed my PC,” shouts back CNN’s Cyrus Sanati.

It’s a war or worlds out there. Not since the Wikileaks controversy hit the headlines has the tech community been so divided on an issue. Yes, the three-weeks-old Windows 8 is a hot topic of debate among the ever-vocal online denizens, and is getting hotter as you read this.

Despite the pummelling that Windows 8 is getting from a section of early adopters, analysts are split in their opinion on whether or not the latest avatar of the ubiquitous Windows platform from Microsoft is the disaster that some claim it is.

And tech opinions, as we all know now, vary widely among today’s Twitter-powered generation.

A piece in the CNN’s technology section claims that “Windows 8’s growing pains could deliver a major blow to Microsoft’s already dwindling market value.” The author suggests that the “lukewarm reception by users and sporadic issues with system migration” may soon force Microsoft “to make a lot of awkward, value-destroying apologies about Windows 8”.

On the other hand, according to Frost & Sullivan, “the re-imagining of Windows in version 8 represents a major step in the interface.” The business research and consulting firm compares the launch of the new Windows platform to the unveiling of a new iPhone or iPad, minus the hype, of course.

“Whilst there won’t be quite the hype and buzz that follows a new smartphone or tablet, Windows 8 should be looked at equally as seriously in the market,” suggests Frost & Sullivan’s Baul Lewis. “Windows 8 brings life back to the laptop format and delivers a great tablet experience, even making old desktops appear new and exciting,” he adds.

To be fair, the Windows 8 platform does introduce a smartphone-like touch-and-swipe usability to the laptop, instantly transforming the laptop into a powerful touchscreen-enabled smartphone (only with laptops that come equipped with a touchscreen, it must be added here).

Admittedly, there aren’t too many of touchscreen-enabled laptops in the market right now, but the fact that Windows 8 offers that functionality means that, sooner than later, it will lead to a migration to such devices. After all, how many people can you spot buying the CRT television sets today?

“With Windows 8, not just the actions of touch and swipe, but the principles of the touch interface and apps of smartphone or tablet are brought to the desktop,” says Baul Lewis.

There will be teething issues, and there are indeed a whole host of them that people trying to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 8 have found out at their peril. A quick scan of user rants on your Twitter and/or Facebook pages will be proof enough of the some not-so-nice things that users are saying about the new OS.

But as and when these issues are ironed out, we’re sure to have a much sleeker PC/laptop experience tomorrow as compared to yesterday.

“With this latest release, Microsoft is taking us through a major change, from building with Windows to decorating with Tiles. The difference is significant. Given strong backing by its Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and partners, Windows 8 is expected to be a success while ensuring we enjoy apps wherever we are,” concludes Baul Lewis.

We hope so too.

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