Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Windows 8 experience so far

Have you played around with Windows 8? I've been testing this new operating system for several months going from Windows 8 Release Preview to the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) that became available a few weeks ago.

I've installed Windows 8 on two different tablet PCs so far: an HP Slate 500 and an HP EliteBook 2760p convertible tablet PC. Both are capable of touch input and both support an active stylus pen. The HP Slate 500 doesn't have the screen resolution to support the new Windows 8 "apps" but the 2760p does (but it doesn't support snap).

Overall, the apps look/feel and function very much like other tablet apps you'll find on the iPad or Android tablets. They are elegant, easy-to-navigate, and function quite well. I've played around with your standard apps like Amazon Kindle, Skype, TED, Netflix, Skydrive, Dropbox, and others. I also really like the new touch on-screen keyboard that's built into Windows 8. It's much better than they on-screen keyboards we saw with Windows XP Tablet, Vista, or 7.

Apps designed and built for Windows 8 or Windows RT are leveraging a screen resolution of at least 1024x768 but if you want to multitask using the new snap feature, you'll need a PC that has a minimum screen resolution of 1366x768.

If you're not using a touch-screen device, you'll want to memorize the following keyboard shortcuts:
  • Windows Key: Switches between the Start screen and the last application used.
  • Windows-C: Charms bar.
  • Windows-D: Desktop.
  • Windows-E: Opens the computer/file explorer.
  • Windows-I: Settings.
  • Windows-R: Run dialog box.
  • Windows-X: Simple Start menu.
I look forward to testing some machines that are designed for Windows 8. These will leverage more touch points and will have the right screen resolution to run snap. I also have my eyes set on some of the new Windows 8 convertible tablet PCs that allow you to remove the slate tablet and dock it into a keyboard.

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