via Jeff Hadfield, who's at BUILD keeping an eye on things for The Code Project:
By now, and especially if you have been following @thecodeproject on Twitter, you’ve seen a lot of Tuesday’s Windows 8 developer preview news.
Microsoft billed this developer-focused launch as a “new opportunity for developers.” And that it is, but exactly what the opportunity is remains to be seen. To their credit, the Microsoft teams have certainly done a lot of work on building new UI foundations, making touch an equal partner with keyboard/mouse. And the new hardware is also impressive. But while the pieces are all there, many questions remain to be resolved between now and when Windows 8 finally ships (we’re guessing in about a year).
There’s plenty of coverage about the new UI, and a lot of it can be found on the official Windows sites. We’ve taken careful notes – and we’re happy to add any commentary if you’d like, but rather than rehash the #bldwin Twitter hashtag (re-hashtag?), a few words of perspective might be better.
Our friend David Platt reminded us of his recent MSDN Magazine article and emphasized his admonitions there – about making sure the war hasn’t moved to new fronts while Microsoft continues to fight the same battle in the same place. Has the market moved on? Maybe. Can Microsoft lead the market again? Maybe. The company has a strong history of letting others blaze the way and then stepping ahead, much like stepping in front of a parade already in process. (Which in turn reminds us of the final scenes of Animal House, but with less debauchery.)
Developer buzz is mixed – excitement about the opportunity, sure, but fears also about it being too late. Here’s the thing: Windows still has dominant market share worldwide. In today’s presentations, Microsoft claimed over 450 million Windows 7 licenses sold, making it – as of last Friday – more in use than Windows XP. That’s a lot of seats, and a lot of opportunity for line of business apps and consumer apps.
But many, including me, express some skepticism about how ubiquitous and affordable touch-based PCs will become in the short term. Will they be more than a niche product? Perhaps, but the iPad, for example, is still not affordable for most. Get a nice Windows 8 slate/convertible at the $400-$500 USD price point, though, by next fall, and you’ve got a winner.
Again: metric tonnes of great new features and tonnes of “goodness” included in the APIs and UI guidelines. We’re anxious to get to play with the bits. Unsure how they will play on today’s hardware systems – dev bits and the Windows 8 slates were not available for press, so we won’t be trying any apps on our own. Let us know how you fare.
Finally, a few useful articles: Sorry Apple, Windows 8 ushers in the post-post-PC era[^] The point here? That a capable computing device should be all things to all people, not a dumbed-down device that’s hard to do “real work” on. Agreed: I like my iPad, but as an authoring tool it’s a train wreck.
There’s also a nice post at the Windows Team blog that shows a bunch of the UI updates[^]. If you can’t spare the time to watch the keynote (two and a half hours, seriously), read this but grab a few minutes to see the UI in motion in one of the videos.