We had a legitimate need to display images and needed something larger than a 10" tablet. We needed to run a slide show, and then be able to stop it and use a finger to control the movement We didn't have much time to go research the various models and had to get whatever Bestbuy had in stock. We decided on a Toshiba Ultrabook with touch screen.
My wife has been anti Windows 8 since hearing negative things about it from the Build conference a few years ago. I've run a few Beta copies of it, played with it and was never really impressed with it on a PC. My friends have given enough negative reviews about it since getting it on their new laptops.
All I can say is that this pig can fly. Windows 8 was actually (dare I say) a wonderful experience. My wife who is Mrs. Android was actually more impressed with it than I was. The piece that was missing was the touch interface. When you have that, Windows 8 is actually very nice. The live tiles are actually compelling, and it was about as clean and neat as anything I've seen from Apple.
But make no mistake about it, this is version one. It's more like a model home than a real home. But compared to other Microsoft first version products like Vista and Windows 2000 this is miles ahead. It's a very nice first version.
We ran it unplugged in a slide show for about six hours, and the battery didn't die. My Android phone could never do that! It was a 15" screen with an i5 processor.
You may think it's too late for Windows 8, I though so as well. But seeing that the world was all BlackBerry not too long ago anything is possible. My thinking is that a 15" tablet with a doc, especially something running a 22nm processor is going to be something that will catch on. By that time Windows 8 will have been out for a couple of years, and it will have something more going for it with enough compelling apps to make people comfortable using it.
The biggest problem with Windows 8 is Microsoft. They still don't get consumers as well as they should and though they have something somewhat viable they don't have enough clout or market share to call the shots. If they are the first into the hybrid tablet/laptop market with a strong push, and more or less an aggressive plan to buy market share they can secure their future. Or they can pretend that it's 1992 again and they just released Windows 3.1.
I think Windows 8 will do well and that will be a surprise. I think particularly with the less experienced PC user crowd. WinTel aint' done yet and there is still a lot of room for them to get together on phones.
The real pull is a consistent OS across all devices. Soon Intel will allow a smartphone to do what desktops only could do in the past. At that point the same OS and the same capabilities on each and every device someone owns is pretty convenient.
Microsoft can have a consistent OS and development environment without forcing the same user interface on all devices. Touch may work well with tablets, convertibles and smartphones but if one has large high res monitors their arms won't be long enough to reach to the edges of the display to use metro. And there are plenty of environments when one just doesn't want fingerprints all over their screen. In the future wearable computers may need to use voice control but it shouldn't be forced on every device that preceeded it.
That being said, Windows 8 has potential, especially if Microsoft stops assuming they know what works best for PC users than the PC users themselves.
And yes, it is likely that smartphones will carry the power of today's ultrabooks.
The biggest problem with Windows 8 was Microsoft forcing Metro on every desktop and laptop not equipped with a touch screen. All Microsoft needed to do was give users the ability to disable Metro altogether and restore the desktop with Start menu for those that prefer using it that way.
Leave it to Microsoft to #$%$ defeat from the jaws of success.
One thing I didn't mention was the overall integration of Windows 8. A fatal flaw Android devices have is the assumption that only one person is going to use it. This works well for phones but not as well for tablets. On a Windows 8 device each person in the family can use the device and sign in with his or her profile. It more or less requires you to have a Microsoft Live or Hotmail account. But if you do you will have access to your Skydrive (7GB free storage) and perhaps one of the most advanced photo sharing pieces of software around. I know this doesn't sound like much but when you use it, it really is a huge deal. Android has always been clunky when it comes to integration of its own apps. Microsoft is silky smooth, nearly like an Apple experience.
The problem that Microsoft needs to address is the same bridge Apple ran across years ago. When Apple came out with iTunes it had to come up with a PC version of it. Microsoft needs to come to terms with the fact that people will have other e-mail services. I'm surprised that it's not built in right now. Google has ways to integrate other e-mails into your Gmail address I'm sure Microsoft could do the same thing.
I think the thing that will screw people up the most is the name Windows 8. It's not the next generation of Windows. If they had named it "Windows Mobile" and realized that people don't really want it on their desktop computers it would have been off to a better start. Oh well, maybe next generation.