Will Windows 8.1 be Microsoft’s second chance?


As Microsoft is about to kick off its BUILD developer conference tomorrow Wednesday, the company faces a scaring task: Especially when it comes to convincing developers and tech enthusiasts that it remains on the cutting edge. Is windows 8 a dying OS platform ? Will the next iteration of Window’s PC OS boost sales for Microsoft? Those are some of the recurring questions people ask.
That’s a tough challenge when you’re about to release a Windows system update that most think exists to correct nagging flaws.

Truth be told its tough to have a quick fix as an revolutionary innovation.

Among the top most complaints of Windows 8 is that Start page which is just a full mess of crazy tile arrangement when the PCs boots. Well the new version of Windows hopes to solve this with a new boot-to-desktop feature, but Windows 8.1 still needs to address a laundry list of other issues, and Windows lovers worldwide remain skeptical.

“I think the [Windows 8] updates have been noticed by the tech community, but the mass market perception of Windows hasn’t changed that much.”

— Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester Research
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The Windows 8.1 wish list

June 26 will mark the day for Microsoft’s big first preview of Windows 8.1, which should dominate discussions on the first day of the conference.

Most analyist are hoping for a BUILD with a more refined application development story with 8.1, and going out the broader ecosystem.

All microsoft needs to do is to convince developers that the new Windows ecosystem offers value—and return on investment. PCs, Surface tablets, and Windows Phone handsets represent the three legs of the hardware infrastructure, and they’re all tied together by Microsoft’s cloud of software and services.

Microsoft still a long way to go

Microsoft has with years seen that the future is mobile, and we saw the advent of its tablet interface slapped on top of the traditional Windows operating system. Then came Microsoft’s Surface tablet, released in October 2012. The hardware gets praise, but consumers can’t stomach its high price and lack of interesting software, something Microsoft is trying to fight tooth and neck.

The release of Microsoft’s holy grail Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet last year, has not been a bed of roses as Windows 8 has been blamed for the demise of the traditional PC. The criticism was underscored by the decline in corporate licensing, as businesses hesitated to upgrade to an unfamiliar OS. Tami Reller, Microsoft’s Windows marketing chief, promises that things will improve in the latter part of the year.


Was Windows 8 that bad anyway?

Calling a spade a spade, Microsoft made a big mistake in failing to realize that the vast majority of users would experience Windows 8 from a traditional PC, and not from the current wave of Surface or tablet-PC hybrids being launched. This renders the Start screen introduced in Windows 8 useless.

The story is not the same for tablet users, as the Start interface works well since users have been trained by their smartphones to responsively reach for the new Windows screen, where large Live Tiles can be easily accessed. One time i found a friends of mine practically fumbling with his new Windows 8 machine, this for sure showed me that Microsoft certainly alienated some users. By organizing the tiles according to its own system—placing its key apps, such as People and Calendar, for example, in the first “screen” of the interface. Older Windows OSes tended to show the most frequently used apps first, then an alphabetical list of programs when “All Programs” was clicked. This approach makes a comeback in Windows 8.1, and it’s a good thing.

Withal, the upcoming “boot to Desktop” feature and the addition of the Start shortcut on the Desktop page contradict each other. Boot to desktop brings users to the familiar environment they know and love, but to do anything, they still need to return to the unfamiliar Start page. A number of third-party add-ons solve the problem, but Microsoft would have been better served by placing a Start option within the Desktop context.

Personally I still hate using the touch version of Internet Explorer. I’d much rather use the Desktop version or Firefox or Chrome, instead. It’s probably time to argue, however, that Windows 8 isn’t as bad anyway.

Some of the biggest complaints of Windows 8 was the memory it required, but the disk storage should drop with Windows 8.1, as well. The bottom line? Windows 8 is a toned, stylish, polished professional athlete. But underneath its wearing clown makeup, and that creates a serious image problem.

windows phones youtube

So where are the mobile apps?

I have been using a Nokia 820 Windows phone 8 for sometime now the app eco-system is growing slowly and surely and as usual the good apps are the bought apps.

The apps question flips the Desktop versus Start page argument on its head. People working on PCs instinctively visit the Facebook Web page. It works fine. We’re used to it. But Facebook formatted as an app or mobile Web page for iOS, Android, and (my favorite) Windows Phone looks far smoother than any Web page for the desktop.

Ignoring the fact that the share of Windows tablets is very small, Microsoft simply needs to commission a few key apps for Windows 8: Facebook, Yelp, and Pinterest, for starters.
We need to see more of the operating system, but also more of the total Microsoft experience, Phones and Windows tablets is just part of that one continuous Microsoft experience.

Windows 8.1 is predicted to represents Microsoft’s second chance. We are hoping it will sort out all user issues. Well lets see what they will unveil tomorrow.