Just when some people were finally settling into Windows 7, Microsoft decided to release the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Here we go again!
The upgrade is actually quite significant—there are a number of new features being packed into the release and, as always, Microsoft has taken the time to share with us their plans for making Windows better than it already is. Let’s take a look here…
Cloud Services Becoming More Seamless
It turns out that Microsoft wasn’t particularly happy with their numbers and feedback, in spite of the fact that they currently rank highest on almost every dimension of their service, including e-mail, storage and messenger applications. They aren’t just aiming for big numbers—they want to create a truly connected experience for their users. Software applications that don’t fit into the cloud services have become irrelevant, as they tend to feel like old vestiges of the new network that Microsoft is trying to establish.
“Windows 8 provides us with an opportunity to reimagine our approach to services and software and to design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience, accessible in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices.”
Basically, instead of throwing out services and software that people don’t use (because they fail to be interconnected), Microsoft will be incorporating all of the ingredients into one seamless package. You’ll be able to turn on your new PC and have all of the services and apps available to you immediately. No turning to other brands, no installing external services and no mingling between multiple apps when trying to establish your data.
Improved Multi-Monitor Experience
A lot of us are big fans of dual monitors. Some of us even take it to the ultimate level by adding a third and fourth monitor. One thing stands true—once you try out the multi-monitor experience, you’re pretty much locked in. The usefulness and utility of it is undeniable and it’s damn near impossible to go back to a single monitor after using two of them.
“We recognize that a key value of using multiple monitors lies in the desire to increase multitasking. This is especially true of those of you who spend time arranging your desktop windows to maximize the available real estate across multiple displays.”
Microsoft understands the importance of using multiple monitors and has quite a few plans to improve the experience. For starters, they want to make the desktop more personal—instead of having your one background repeated across all monitors, you’ll be able to customize each one individually.
Moreover, there was a lot of negative feedback regarding taskbar efficiency with multiple monitors. Microsoft is making it easier to access multiple applications so that users aren’t struggling to keep up with their love for multi-tasking.
Other improvements in this category involve accessibility of system UI and allowing side-by-side Metro style and desktop apps. It’s safe to say that the multi-monitor junkies will be drooling over Windows 8.
Windows on ARM (WOA)
ARM-based tablets have made a huge impact on the way both consumers and business professionals handle their day-to-day tasks. Microsoft recognizes this and has decided to make Windows 8 support both x86 PCs and ARM tablets.
“Using WOA “out of the box” will feel just like using Windows 8 on x86/64. You will sign in the same way. You will start and launch apps the same way. You will use the new Windows Store the same way. You will have access to the intrinsic capabilities of Windows, from the new Start screen and Metro style apps and Internet Explorer, to peripherals, and if you wish, the Windows desktop with tools like Windows File Explorer and desktop Internet Explorer. It will have the same fast and fluid experience.”
Microsoft has stated that they want PC makers to ship WOA PCs at the same time as traditional PCs designed for Windows 8 on x86/64. This is just the first component of their seamless design plan—rather than creating polarity between WOA PCs and Windows on ARM software, all of the hardware, firmware and software will be integrated and properly serviced. With WOA, you’ll also be able to run the new desktop utilities from “Office 15”, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
USB 3.0 Support
The third major revision of the USB standard has received plenty of hype, and for good reasons. The 5 Gbps signaling rate (dubbed “SuperSpeed”) surpasses the transfer performance of Hi-Speed USB by 10x as much and has Optimized Power Efficiency that eliminates device polling and idle power requirements.
So of course all of us would want to use the 3.0 upgrade. The only problem is that it isn’t accessible on every device. Well good news has arrived—Windows 8 will have full compatibility with USB 3.0.
“The decision to invest in USB 3.0 was an easy one to make, but doing so without compromising the existing USB ecosystem was a big challenge to overcome. Our design had to follow the revised 3.0 specification precisely in order to enable emerging USB 3.0 hardware. There are also billions of older USB devices that Windows must remain compatible with.”
Microsoft inevitably had to jump through more than one hoop in order to set this off. Through a complicated process involving partnership with the hardware industry and extensive testing, they’ve ensured that all USB devices—including low, full, high and SuperSpeed—will be compatible with Windows 8. This is a major announcement for consumers who are eager to explore the undeniable benefits of USB 3.0, as well as reassurance for those who don’t give a flying ducky about any of it.
Guaranteed Windows Media Center
This one is actually a bigger deal than most people think. The original assumption was that Media Center would require a paid-upgrade, which was a total bummer for those who know the major value of the application. Microsoft received plenty of feedback about consumer-appreciation for Media Center’s functionality and has decided to incorporate it into Windows 8. That’s right—as long as you have Windows 8, you’ll also have Windows Media Center. That definitely puts the cherry on top.
 http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/ (Retrieved 5-30-2012)
 http://technorati.com/technology/article/new-features-to-be-included-in/ (Retrieved 5-30-2012)
 http://www.usb.org/developers/ssusb (Retrieved 5-30-2012)