Rumor has it that the new Windows OS, called Windows 8 will be released in October of this year. You can try out a beta version by downloading from Microsoft now. Thus the question from a reader, “Should I wait until release of Win 8 before I buy a new PC?” The short answer is no! Go ahead and enjoy the benefits of Win 7, a proven performer and it’s time to retire Win XP anyway. Hear my reasoning.
As I have mentioned in this column recently; one of the major forces driving technology in general and computers in particular is mobility. Operating Systems that work well on a desktop or laptop PC do not necessarily mesh well with mobile devices. Restrictions in the size of the monitoring screen come into play, but more importantly mobile devices are rapidly moving to touch rather than mouse/keyboard type inputs. Microsoft has been a little behind the curve on mobile OS development and expects to close that gap with Windows 8 which features a mobile friendly “Metro” interface that will be compatible with touch. This part of Win 8 won’t bring anything extra to your desktop experience and if MS is not careful, it could cause some transition problems for recent Win 7 adopters who are just getting comfortable after being rooted off their old XP machines.
I’m afraid Microsoft will experience another opportunity to ruffle the feathers of some of their loyal customer base, just as they did when transitioning from Win 98 to Win ME and again from Win XP to Vista. Now mind you, I am not predicting that Win 8 will be a bomb like ME or Vista, I’m just saying…
If you are the type who likes to wait and see on a new product, this is a good time to exercise that caution. Besides, your alternative is to buy a proven OS, Win 7 that still has much of its useful life ahead of it. If you expect to get 5 years from an OS, you’ll be able to get it from Win 7.
On the other hand if you are in the market for some new mobile devices (phones, note pads, etc), I think it’s worth a shot to try out the new Win 8 mobile OS versions when they are available. I’m confident that MS is serious about the mobile market.
I have read many and varied revues of the Win 8 beta versions (mind you they are not ready for store shelves yet) and while there are some gee whiz type things going on in the background, the average user will not appreciate much of the hoopla. Win 8 will probably mesh better with social networking and synchronization with other devices will improve and you’ll be able to go back and forth between touch and older inputs. Win 8 will no doubt give Microsoft a better foothold in the battle for mobile OS supremacy, but if you are looking for a new laptop or desktop, don’t wait.
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