Will Windows 8 Be Relevant in 2012?

Well, the simple answer is YES. And NO.

I suppose that bears a little explanation. The fact is, for business PC users, Windows 8 on the PC won't likely become something you will be looking at for several years. There are not a slew of powerful features coming to drive upgrades. I'd expect that upgrades to Windows 8 will come more when PC hardware has moved deeper into the transition to touch screen usage, and the integration of functionality between tablet usage and PC usage is a more common issue.

But that is not a 2012 issue, so your budget is safe.

What about tablet users? While the iPad has a stranglehold on the market, and Amazon is pushing hard, Microsoft is late to the game. However, a common complaint I, and many other tablet users have is that we don't have our applications. We have 3rd party apps that do similar things, but are not fully compatible, behave different, etc. Frankly, I want Microsoft Office. That's my productivity suite. I also want my other common PC apps to run on a tablet. The PC is the center of my computing universe, and it sets the bar for what things I want to be able to do. I want my tablet to behave consistently with that. That is where Windows 8 comes in. The idea of having a tablet, with all the conveniences of a tablet, that allows me to easily do all the same things I do on my PC, in the same way, is a powerful one. That is the experience I want. I think in this way, Windows 8 on tablets may be a slow start, but it will be a contender if the hardware is solid. There are many business users who could care less about Angry Birds that would love to have the experience of having the full power of their laptop at their fingertips with the convenience of a tablet. I feel that tablets are indeed a productivity boon for the small to medium enterprise (and beyond) and Windows 8 will perhaps take this up a notch. I'll be watching this carefully, and likely test a device or two this year.

Home users also will experience Windows 8 in spades, as it will roll out by the millions. The new all in one touch screen PC's are really optimized for the Windows 8 experience. Again, as hardware shifts in this direction in the enterprise (give it a few years at least), Windows 8 will find a home.

About the time Windows 9 comes along.

Ah, the one constant in technology is change!

Happy Computing!

-Richard Brunke

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