Personal Small Business Enterprise

Is Windows 8 for you?

Friday, Oct. 26 was a big day in the tech world: Microsoft launched its all-new operating system, Windows 8, and most new computers on store shelves will be running the new operating system. Microsoft is spending upwards of $1.8 billion U.S. to market its new operating system, and many analysts call this the most important single product launch in the company’s history.

If you’re considering a new hardware purchase or an OS upgrade, keep in mind that it’s always prudent to take your time and ask a lot of questions before committing your business – and the PCs that depend on it – to a new OS. Here are some of the key things you’ll want to know about Windows 8 before you decide whether or not it fits your needs:

The Interface Redesign
Windows 8 is likely the most radical re-think to the venerable Windows desktop since Windows 95 first went on sale 17 years ago. Although it still has a classic desktop for traditionalists, the default view is based on the look introduced a couple of years back on its Windows Phone mobile OS. The new interface ditches the desktop in favour of live, interactive tiles that, depending on the app, can paint a rich picture of what’s going on. A live weather app, for example, displays a summarized weather forecast, while your email app might include snippets from your inbox.

The advantage? You see more when you first log in, and don’t have to open up every program to get stuff done. The disadvantage? It’s different enough that it’ll take time to get used to.

Touch Screen Support
Windows 8 is designed to work on desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and hybrid machines known as convertibles and detachables. It supports touch screens, as well as a new range of touchpad-based gestures. This is a good thing, as you may get away with not having to buy a separate laptop and tablet. Not-so-good is the fact that not all software supports touch. It’ll take some time for app developers to catch up to the snazzy new OS and hardware.

Cloud-based Delivery for Additional Services
While most software on traditional PCs was installed via CDs or DVDs, Windows 8 shifts applications firmly into the cloud. The new OS is tightly linked to cloud-based services like Office 365. Sure, you’ll still be able to buy software in a box, but as time passes, the connection to Internet-based services will increasingly define how you spend your workday.

Although it’s easy to get carried away by the hype of having shiny new technology, what matters most to your business is making sure it works for your needs. A new OS launch gives us all a great opportunity to reassess those needs.

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