Windows 8 launches this October and represents the biggest change for Windows since Windows XP debuted in 1996. Hybrids devices could represent the ideal middle ground.
Two versions of Windows 8 requires two devices
iOS is popular because the operating system is built for mobile devices — Mac OS X works on the desktop with a mouse/trackpad and keyboard. Windows is different because Microsoft wants users to experience Modern UI and the traditional desktop environment on every Windows 8 device, yet the most popular device for the operating system may be the least talked about.
The hybrid device is basically a product that can switch between the tablet and laptop form factor. In theory this means you can use the Modern UI experience in the tablet form and the desktop experience in the form factor. Microsoft continues to admit that Windows 8 is designed for PCs and tablets, so the form factor makes sense. It also means greater consumer choice. That’s good.
The problem with using Windows 8, in the eyes of some users, is that the quick and responsible interface in Modern UI is removed when you’re using a keyboard and mouse. To be honest I agree — processes take longer when you’re scrolling through the an app rather than swiping. Therefore I like the idea of a two-in-one device where I can use the version of Windows fitting to my situation.
Then you’re factoring in Windows RT, the feature-limited version of Windows 8. That seems to be the version of Windows 8 I want to use with a tablet. Switching to the desktop experience when using a touch-focused device is not the user experience to win over casual consumers; dialog boxes up with an unknown error isn’t a good idea. Touch experiences have to be simple for casual and hardcore consumers.
Whatever happen it’ll be interesting to what manufacturers think the best product for Windows 8 is, though that’s something we’re not likely to know until later in the Windows 8 development cycle. At launch we’re going to see a range of devices as all the different demographics are targeted. Personally, I’ll be looking towards hybrid devices with the most interest.
Windows 8 launches October 26.