by Gray Graham
Last week Microsoft showed off their next operating system, Windows 8 to join the tablet wars which is currently dominated by Apple iOS with Google Android poised to make the same challenge they did in the smartphone field.
Windows 8 appears to take many ques from the Windows Phone platform. It is being called the biggest departure for Windows since Windows 95 which would be incredible to say the least. It replaces the traditional desktop and icons with tiles or as we know them apps that are bigger. Of course the biggest thing is that it will work by touch so it will work on tablets and other touchscreen devices.
As you can see this is a big difference between what Apple,Google and even HP are doing. Microsoft is trying to use the same OS on tablets that they will use on desktop and laptop computers. This is the same philosophy they have always done and pretty much sums up why Microsoft trails this product field.
Bill Gates ushered in the tablet computer as we know it 10 years ago, but the products were always slow and expensive and nothing that the average consumer could use. Then Apple came out with the iPad and Android soon followed creating devices that seem to connect with what consumers want to do with tablets.
It seems that Microsoft is destined to make the same mistake with tablets that they made with netbooks. Remember netbooks started off using Ubuntu (a version of Linux) and really should have stayed there, but Microsoft offered netbooks running XP and manufacturers began pushing them and consumers liked using something they already knew instead of learning how to use the geeky Linux.
But Microsoft changed all of that when they came out with Windows 7. Instead of making sure that it would work on netbooks with the same experience as full fledged computers, they crippled it even going so far as to disable customization of the desktop which is something even today's most basic cell phones can do. This completely turned consumers off and even more than a few manufacturers. So when Apple came out with the easy to use iPad, consumers jumped right on board and left the netbook behind.
I remember that everyone was talking about how the netbook category was completely dead last year but then just this year Google comes out with Chromebooks powered by Google's Chrome OS (which is based on Linux) and it seems like everyone is interested in netbooks again. It seems to show that it was not netbooks people had a problem with, but rather Windows Starter 7 netbooks. HP probably will also come out with netbooks that are powered by WebOS.
As it stands now Microsoft seems to be on the same path as always. Instead of making a product that consumers want, they want to tell consumers what they should want. We will see if they have learned anything from the mistakes of Windows Mobile and Windows Starter 7. History does not indicate that they will.