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3/30/2013
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Windows Blue: What We Know

Will Windows Blue, Windows 8's successor, be a nail in the coffin of traditional PCs? Here are 5 key facts that have emerged.

4. Windows Blue devices will come in a variety of sizes.

Judging from mounting evidence, Microsoft is very keen to make a splash with smaller tablets, a market that, as the iPad Mini's success attests, has become quite popular.

A March 12 Windows Certification Newsletter delivered the latest indication that Microsoft is eyeing the iPad Mini and Nexus 7's turf. With the posting, Redmond lowered Windows 8's minimum resolution standards; whereas certification has previously required 1366x768-pixel resolution, Microsoft will now approve devices equipped with only 1024-768-pixel screens.

Typically, larger, 10-inch tablets utilize high-definition screens. But as the iPad Mini's 1024x768-pixel resolution has demonstrated, buyers are willing to trade display density for smaller form factors and lower prices.

Combined with reports that Microsoft is incentivizing OEMs to focus on small-screened Windows 8 devices, the newest development strongly suggest Windows Blue will be well represented by 7-inch tablet models. Indeed, some have already predicted a Surface-branded "Reader" that leverages Microsoft's Barnes & Noble investment. If nothing else, those who found the Surface RT intriguing but too expensive could see many more appealingly-priced RT models hit the market.

Windows Blue involves more than just diminutive tablets, of course--and given that a Retina-equipped iPad Mini might appear later this year, Redmond's interest in other form factors is wise.

According to the leaked build, Windows Blue includes increased support for particularly high-resolution screens, and Microsoft executives have repeatedly mentioned that Windows 8 is engineered to scale to different screen sizes. If lightweight tablets aren't your thing, Windows Blue should debut in many other shapes and sizes.

5. Apps remain a key factor.

Even with Windows Blue's enhancements, the Modern UI's app store continues to trail those of its major competitors. Redmond has been proactive on this front, launching upgrades to several Windows 8 core apps and, in a somewhat more questionable move, offering programmers $100 bonuses for each new app. But Redmond still needs to do more; no matter what improvements Blue brings, Microsoft will need inspired efforts from developers if it is to threaten Apple and Google's tablet dominance.

Office president DelBene's remarks about touch functions are an encouraging sign that Microsoft is exploring user experiences that its competitors have yet to bring to market. A report that Microsoft has assembled a secret team to build "risky" apps is more encouraging still. But until these indications translate to results, Windows 8 will be fighting an uphill battle, with or without Blue's enhancements.

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Odis Lee
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Odis Lee,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/1/2013 | 8:15:11 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
I tried Win8 and couldn't stand the modern UI and ended up setting it up as much like a traditional desktop UI as I could. You shouldn't have to use a third party program to make it comfortable to use.
Rydangel Blessed
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Rydangel Blessed,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 3:51:40 AM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
i was searching for windows 7software so i can finally update my windows xp desktop, and all i see our windows 8 which seems to get bad reviews. now i see they are going to yet another new system with blue. microsoft is going to force me into learning mac or linux. i like new tech. i have a windows 7 laptop and an android jellybean tablet, both of which i love. but the bulk of all my files are on my desktop. I DON'T WANT TO LEARN A NEW UI!! I HATE MY TABLET'S TOUCHSCREEN! if it ain't broke don't fix it. i just got my momma using windows7, she can barely use her iphone and kindle fire. if desktops go to touchscreen, she'll be lost. and forget my 85 yo grandma using it. do they have linux for dummies? now i have to get the 15yo nephew to teach me how to use his mac. ><
KaelooGang
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KaelooGang,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/14/2013 | 1:42:45 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
If its just an Update *A big update* I hope we don't have to pay anything?
I want Windows in a way to become more Customizable, but not too much so you can change everything, but just so we can do a bit more, like have more Start Screen Designs, colours and other things. I can Imagine them removing the Desktop, but they would have to produce something more amazing than it. Like... a cork board or something? They also better be careful because if they lose Windows' business, then Microsoft will too. I don't like using apps/tiles that much, because I think they can be improved a bit more and have many more features like, they always are... so.. boring and dull? They should focus on Voice Recognition more, because if they want to keep up, then... Like for example you could say "Windows Listen" and then you could say "Any recipes with chocolate in them for my Bake sale?" or "What homework do I have to complete", it would also Introduce the Microsoft Future Vision thing.
Palpatine
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Palpatine,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/10/2013 | 7:55:26 AM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
They are scared because MS boffins are trying to trade a full featured overlapping multi windows environment with a joke of GUI like Metro that in next Blue update will be barely capable of displaying non overlapped windows like Windows 2.0.
Going down from Windows 7 usability to Metro usability that is like Windows 1.0 (and in Blue hopefully will evolve up to Windows 2.0) is what is keeping Windows 8 Squarepants monthly user adoption HALF OF VISTA!
Loerps
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Loerps,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 9:42:26 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
What in Win 8 can't be personalized?
Loerps
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Loerps,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 9:26:44 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
In what Microsoft release have you seen the words "Get used to the Modern UI, like it or not"? I've seen them in blog posts by people who appear fanatical in their hatred for Win 8 or for MS, but I've never heard MS use them. Maybe I missed something.


I wouldn't expect the desktop to disappear any time soon. It's still there in Win 8 and it's nearly identical to the Win 7 desktop. On the other hand, touch and gestures are here to stay and it wouldn't be surprising to see this expanded over time. I would expect other OS's to go this same direction at some point. What grinds my gears is that if Apple had put a fully-functional OSx on a tablet that also ran an iPad-like iOS interface, they would have been hailed as innovative geniuses, with all the Applephiles singing halleluias and weepy-eyed with joy.



It's an unfortunate fact of life - some companies people love to love and some companies people love to hate.

Loerps
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Loerps,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 9:05:55 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
Not sure introducing a new idea and risking the biggest piece of your financial pie to do it would be considered arrogant. Risky, yes; foolish, maybe; arrogant, not so much. It wouldn't be the first time a company took a big-time risk to put forward a new idea.


Also, I find it interesting that some folks, including you apparently, refer to the "modern" UI as "fisher price", implying that it is for children, yet complain of how "hard" it is to use. Seems to me that those two notions are contradictory.
Loerps
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Loerps,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 8:53:59 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
You don't need any 3rd party products to use Win 8, it works fine out of the box. The desktop is still there, you still click in the lower left corner of the desktop to get the start menu. In addition, there is a new power-user menu there. And you can add a toolbar in a few seconds that gives you the same list of installed programs in the same folder/file format that you got under the old start orb - except that it was two clicks then and is one click now. Outside of the start orb, the Win 8 desktop is essentially indistinguishable from the Win 7 desktop.



Really, the panic over Win 8 is hard to understand. It is actually a very good OS and will only get better.

Loerps
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Loerps,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 8:42:51 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
I wouldn't expect the desktop to go away for some time to come yet, and not until the capabilities you outline are available in the new interface. Touch and gestures are the wave of the future. While the gesture a lot of folks associate with win 8 right now is a single finger pointed heavenward, keep in mind the there will always be resistance to change.



BTW, I happen to really like Win 8. It will be interesting to see how it evolves.

iansdigby
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iansdigby,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2013 | 11:23:55 AM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
Can anyone please enlighten me? I must be missing something about Modern UI vs Desktop. The Modern UI does not appear to allow display of multiple apps in resizable windows on screen - a fundamental feature of Windows for the working professional. Without the ability to view multiple apps on screen, cut/paste between and resize windows etc., the Modern UI, stripped of the desktop, would be more properly named Window (singular). It would be a big, big step backwards. Who are the worldwide base of Office users (MS's biggest PC money-spinner)? why, office staff of course, at all levels. And most of them need multiple windowing on a desktop. I actually like the Modern thing more than iOS as a touch interface and think MS has got it right combining the two. Modern as a glorified and touch-enabled Start Menu is a great idea. But the desktop must be an integral part of Windows 8 and any future releases.
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