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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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Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
4/4/2013 | 7:28:10 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
I love all these comments. If Microsoft listened to us, we'd still be using the same GUI as Windows 3.1... or DOS.

Yeah, I loved knowing exactly where my files were and making the prompt show which directory I was in so I didn't get lost after a cd command.

I don't need any of them new-fangled "windows". I only use one program at a time anyway. And that's a PROGRAM, you whippersnappers, not an application or an app, and it was written by a PROGRAMMER, not a software engineer.

And what's with all these colors? I only need green (or amber!) on black. No need for WYSIWYG either. I can get a point across in monospaced characters without bold or italics.

In fact, I'd much rather go back to that ASR-33 with its continuous roll of paper. Who needs lower case anyway? If I need lower case, I'll use my typewriter.

Insert a few smileys here. Oh, wait, we didn't have those "emoticons" either.

Seriously, though (and I hope you enjoyed that walk down memory lane), I agree that changing a GUI is risky and disruptive, particularly if there's no clear benefit for doing so. I dred teaching my spouse and parents how to use any new GUI after it took years for them to get comfortable with the current one. But at the same time, we don't make any progress by standing still. Don't we all work in a field that moves faster than most?
flubaluba
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flubaluba,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2013 | 6:56:52 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
Having used metro style desktop on a phone with windows phone 8 i am surprised anyone would want to use the desktop as much, yes file manager is going to be needed that is what we use to control where our files go and how we want to setup our systems to our liking, but Metro is just so amazing, it is way better than the desktop in my opinion, and is actually easy to use, simple to create more tiles and link them to programs, simple to keep all the old stuff working actually.
I think people are generally scared that they are going to lose file manager , which they are not, they are just losing the old desktop layout for a new layout that makes things easier to use.
As i have said previously i can do almost anything on my windows 8 metro interface that i was doing on windows 7, yes on the metro interface, it is just s new way of doing things, once people realize this and stop with the nonsense of Microsoft locking down the system maybe more people will rush to try it out.
flubaluba
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flubaluba,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2013 | 6:48:53 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
Just got a 4" huawei W1 and this is the future, seriously simple to setup and to use, i actually feel like it is almost too simple compared to android , it feels like i am missing steps when i want to do something, but i am not i am just not having to go through so many steps to do things.
I don't know why people even bother talking about android and the fight for marketshare, windows8 phone has already won the battle in my opinion and i am sure in the opinion of most who try it.
TreeInMyCube
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TreeInMyCube,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2013 | 5:02:33 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
As I write this, it is still possible to buy Windows 7 systems from Dell and HP. It would be interesting to see whether Win7 sales are tailing off, or holding steady. My guess is that while techies like me (and the other commenters) may consider moving to Linux or getting a Chromebook, a lot of folks (like my parents) will just hang onto the Win7 system they have for a good while longer. Those folks who waited too long to give up their XP system (recession anyone?) will face an interesting choice.
Computer Repair Whiteplains NY
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Computer Repair Whiteplains NY,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2013 | 3:33:04 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
It seems that Windows Blue will contain the improvements about the Metro UI that were source of criticism among users.
mkorkowski
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mkorkowski,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2013 | 12:42:27 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
Look, I suppose many of us may adopt Windows 8 if there is nothing else but don't ever tell me like it or not, Microsoft. Who the hell are you? This is not just a tablet world. I understand new and updated UI for touch devices but the desktop isn't dead, and no we are all NOT going to go out and buy touchscreens. I'm not giving up my dual 24" monitors. So Microsoft YOU give me what I want or I'll go away. How about that?
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
4/2/2013 | 5:20:05 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
"Get used to the Modern UI, like it or not."
OK Redmond, you have spoken...Good..Here is my answer, and I bet millions of home users will answer you as well. Microsoft is not the only OS in town. M.S. Better watch out for cloud computing, and terminal based solutions as well. After using Microsoft product since DOS 3.1, have made a career with Microsoft product since, I am bailing out. I will be installing Fedora, and will be finished with Microsoft product until it is once again consumer frendly, and based on what we as the home user wants, not some hair brained idea an over paid executive wants to shove down my mouse! No, you cannot do that, sorry, I am finished with you! I will also see what Apple has to offer before I jump to Linux. I will be forced to deal with your messy UI eventually at work, but they are also avoiding it like the Plague.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/2/2013 | 5:06:23 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
Get over it. Don't hate, adapt. It isn't that much different when you understand how it works. Put in a few hours or less, and you will find Win 8 works like you want it too in almost every case. Many things take less time and effort, so overall Win 8 is an improvement. Microsoft is not going to do what you want them to do, any more than Apple or Google will also. Being stubborn or closed minded will not help your company to move on with the rest of the industry.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
4/2/2013 | 3:17:59 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
You mean like Apple? To be fair though, you are going the Linux route.
trock835
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trock835,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/2/2013 | 3:17:00 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
The arrogance of Microsoft continuing to shove Metro down our throats is becoming intolerable. It really puts us in a quandary as to how we proceed as an IT department. Our users hate, our management hates it, and I personally hate it. We don't dislike it we HATE it! Get it, Microsoft?

Using a third party product to simulate the Windows 7 interface isn't a solution. It introduces another set of variables that we need to validate with our applications and we would be betting our enterprise on a small company's product that probably won't be around in two years.
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