windows 8

Chris Nuttall

Prepare to download. Microsoft has announced the launch of Windows 8.1 – a significant update to a much-criticised touch-friendly version of its operating system. 

Windows 8 was panned and blamed for a historic fall in PC sales earlier this year, so let’s give some love to other versions of Microsoft’s much-maligned operating system in a look at the latest PC figures

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s attempt to introduce consumers to the wonders of touch with Windows 8 amounted to a rough shove. The operating system’s poor reception has prompted a rethink and details of an updated version were unveiled on Thursday.

Windows 8.1, available as a preview from June 26, will bring back features familiar to and missed by Windows 7 users, including a Start button – but no Start menu – and the choice of not beginning their bootup experience with the touch-optimised “Modern” tile interface. 

Richard Waters

Why you would click a button labelled “start” to turn something off has never been entirely clear.

But for hundreds of millions of PC users, the start button in the bottom left corner of the Windows screen has been an invaluable navigation tool – which is why Microsoft looks to be on the verge of reversing course over Windows 8 and bringing it back. 

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

A mere two weeks after the release of Windows 8, Microsoft surprised many when it announced the departure of Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows. While many tech observers noted a parallel between Sinofsky’s exit and Apple’s recent management shakeup, others pointed out that chief executive Steve Ballmer could be the next target. 

Windows 8Does Microsoft risk confusing consumers with an operating system that tries to serve every kind of computing device and may end up satisfying no one? With its dual-interface, dual-purpose, dual-processor, mixed-up thinking, Windows 8 is a pushmi-pull­yu, half-man, half-biscuit, weird and occasionally wonderful creation that is guaranteed to bewilder – at least initially.

And that’s just the Microsoft end of the operation. The hardware makers have responded with their own Whirligig 8 – sorry, Windows 8 – of swivelling, swinging, sliding and snapping hybrid devices that veer from tablets to notebooks. Everyone is trying to cover everything while they wait to see what we consumers will go for.

 

Will Windows 8 turn out to be Microsoft’s “New Coke”?

Messing around with one of the world’s most familiar everyday products is hardly something to be undertaken lightly – and with the new version of Windows, which goes on sale on Friday, there has been a lot of messing around. That almost guarantees some degree of user backlash. But it would be wrong to judge the outcome of what amounts to a bet-the-farm gamble by Microsoft on its initial reception.

 

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft has announced its Surface tablet, due to go on sale next week with the launch of Windows 8, will be priced from $499 in the US.

The initial Surface tablets will have Windows RT installed – a version of Windows 8 designed for Arm-based processors – and will come in three versions. 

Chris Nuttall

Sony has been putting on a show for its Windows 8 US lineup at an event in New York on Thursday, with an innovative All-In-One PC and a convertible ultrabook getting most of the attention.

The Vaio Tap 20 PC (pictured left) and the slider hybrid – the Vaio Duo 11 Ultrabook - were first unveiled at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin six weeks ago and have also been shown to the press with the rest of Sony’s lineup at briefings here in San Francisco. 

Chris Nuttall

The advent of a touch-optimised Windows 8 operating system might sound like bad news for a company like Logitech, best known for its keyboards and mice.

But the Swiss peripherals maker has come up with some much needed accessories for those times when touchscreens are clumsy to use or missing, and built-in controls are just not adequate for the new ways of navigating.