Windows 8 is a revolutionary step in Microsoft ideology. First of all, it's a completely new approach to software eco-system. Windows 8 is aimed to unify your experience on both desktop, mobile and smartphone devices. Secondly, Microsoft introduces an official Windows Store with one-stop download center. But the question is "are ordinary people like you and me ready for it?"
All Internet debates are focused on one thing: whether the eigth version is good for desktop computers and laptops or not. Let's leave the tablet edition of new OS aside and not compare Windows 8 tablets to iPad. On the contrary, see who can benefit from the desktop upgrade to the new OS: gamers, developers, journalists, students, etc.
Main things that gamers need from an OS are: good graphics support, speed, stability and, of course, compatibility with their favorite games. Gabe Newell, Valve CEO, the company that stands behind successful game download store - Steam, called Windows 8 - a "catastrophe." It sounds similar to Steve Jobs on Flash thoughts, doesn't it?
One peculiarity is clear - game developers don't hurry up to customize top games for the modern tile style. So you can enjoy favorite games only in Windows 7 mode on Windows 8.
But 8-enabled PCs load faster, which is a strong point for power-consuming games. Besides, Xbox Store becomes an integral part of new Microsoft OS, and now you can sync your console and PC gaming experience. It seems to be a convenience that many popular games like Skyrim, Call of Duty, Need for Speed are available for both Xbox and PC.
Verdict: Windows 8 is ready for games, but without appealing eighth modern (Metro) UI design. So if you are upgrading from seventh to eitgth version, you will not notice a huge difference. Thus, is it worth upgrading?
Teachers and Students
This category of potential Windows 8 users digest tons of information via web surfing, communication and knowledge exchange. Both teachers and students request good browsing capabilities, reliable file storage and fast start from a new PC.
Windows 8 seems to be a good choice for them. With Modern UI web browsing gets easier in full screen mode; all files can be uploaded to SkyDrive with over 7GB free storage space and accessed from any mobile device or via web interface; Skype replaces Windows Live messenger; and it is provided as a basic element of new OS to facilitate IM communication and video conferences.
Anyway, there are stumbling blocks. You have to register Microsoft account to use these cool features; Internet Explorer and Bing are set as your primary browsing means. Use of mouse for switching between tabs can be cumbersome at the beginning.
Verdict: Great, if you agree to go through the learning curve
Techies (Developers, Designers, Bloggers)
Developers, web designers, video bloggers, journalists use computers professionally. Their requirements are more specific than for entertainment purposes. Often they use two PC displays, need to switch between tabs quickly or examine each detail of a file.
Windows 8 helps to do it, but has some limits. Now new OS is adjusted for multi-monitor computer systems, so you might improve multi-tasking skills. Each program (or app) opens in full-screen mode, thus you can concentrate on your work.
But switching between programs via new charms bar using your mouse in Modern UI gets harder than with old 'Start' button. Almost all professional software for techies isn't adopted for Modern IU, but Win7-like version is supported. For example, Adobe Creative Suite for designers is already compatible with Win 8 (without Modern UI), video bloggers utilize Freemake Video Converter for YouTube video production again without tile interface, and developers program in Microsoft Visual Studio on new OS in 'classic Windows 7' mode.
Verdict: Partially good. Techies are locked on previous version OS mode (with no Modern appearance) by their professional software.
This is another group of people who think twice before upgrade. Their concerns are easy to understand. Companies are looking for integration of PCs with other computers and devices such as printers, scanners, conference hardware, etc.
As in Techies case, some apps like TurboxTax for accounting still stick to Win7 style. Others, for instance, Box are designed for Modern UI and available in Microsoft Store. Microsoft Office suite can be reached via Modern tile interface too.
Verdict: Integration with other hardware is unlikely to cause lots of troubles. However, jumping between all bright tile apps with the help of a mouse may be distracting and even complicated.
Upon the whole, new OS is a step forward in Microsoft platform development. Just remember to estimate your benefits of the upgrade to Windows 8.
Follow Victoria Kushner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Freemakecom