Rebooting Windows for a new era of computing

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    Posted: 28 May 2014

    Microsoft is undergoing a critical transition. The rapidly changing tech landscape is forcing its evolution from a company focused on the PC to a company that has to look to a future where post PC devices dominate.

    No matter how you try to package that change, it represents a shift of tectonic proportions.

    Contrary to what many people think, Microsoft has had its eye on a post PC future for over a decade. Back in November 2002 Microsoft released a Tablet PC Edition of Windows XP in an attempt to foster and support an embryonic PC tablet ecosystem and kick-start a new computing revolution. But the world wasn't ready for tablets back then, with consumers seeing them as too expensive and too clumsy.

    Despite numerous attempts by Microsoft, this is a situation that wouldn't change until Apple released the iPad at the beginning of 2010.

    But nowadays tablets have become established in the mainstream culture as credible consumer and enterprise devices.

    Microsoft is once again making a tablet push, but this time rather than trying to be the catalyst, it is instead attempting to gain a toehold in a space that has already exploded into maturity. Trying to do this has turned Windows on its head and transformed it into a touch-first platform (much to the annoyance of many Windows users still using the platform on non-touch devices such as desktops and notebooks), while on the hardware front it is aggressively pushing its new Surface tablets as notebook replacements.

    The Redmond, Wash.-based devices and services giant also continues to plug away at the smartphone market following the takeover of Nokia, but in more than four years the market share of Windows Phone seems stubbornly stuck at 3 percent.

    Microsoft's vision of computing is that everything is potentially a PC; all it needs to do is run Windows and Office. This has been Microsoft's strategy with the PC for decades, and it is the approach it took with smartphones (where the OS is called Windows Phone), and it is now Microsoft's tactic with tablets (where it wants the Surface to be a notebook replacement).

    Everything comes back to Windows and Office, because these are brands that bring in the dollars.

    Is it a winning formula? Well, the tech landscape as it currently stands would suggest it isn't. The PC sector has stalled, and according to OEM insiders Windows 8 has only made this problem worse. Meanwhile on the post-PC front, iPads, iPhones and a whole raft of Android devices are inundating the market, while Microsoft is scrabbling to make real headway.

    Despite dominating the PC market, Microsoft is finding it hard to take this advantage and translate it into success in these new markets.

    But that's the past. What about the future? Can Microsoft reboot (or at the very least reshape) Windows into a platform or at least a brand that can work in a post PC world?

    I think it can.

    First of all, let's start with Windows. There's no doubt that Windows 8 got off to a rocky start, but with Windows 8.1 Microsoft smoothed off a lot of the rough corners and the platform got a lot better for people using it on non-touch devices in other words, the majority of Windows users. Unfortunately, the problem is that the reputation of Windows 8 is tarnished, and just as with Windows Vista, no amount of tweaking or updating can seem to get rid of that. This is a shame, but this seems to be how it works with operating systems, and Windows in particular. How it is received early on tends to stick for the lifespan of the platform. Windows XP and Windows 7 were both well loved, while Windows Vista and Windows 8 were veiled by a bad vibe that no amount of betterment in the form of service packs and updates could eradicate.
    Read more at: Rebooting Windows for a new era of computing | ZDNet
    Brink's Avatar Posted By: Brink
    28 May 2014

  1. Lee
    Posts : 4,793
    OS X, Win 10

    . . .setting here waiting for the Microsoft is dead crowd. . .:angelic:
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  2. Posts : 171
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    Lee, post: 30515, member: 135 said:
    . . .setting here waiting for the Microsoft is dead crowd. . .:angelic:
    Well, if it keeps heading towards this pie-in-the-sky non-existent 'post-PC world' and trying to con people that the internet IS computing, then to me and a multitude of others it may as well be dead.

    There is no 'post-PC world' because the PC isn't going anywhere. Sure, it may not be Numero Uno any longer, but it will NOT be going away, no matter how much MS and the doom-sayers may wish it to. There will always be a market for powerful PCs controlled by the operator, not some company or companies trying desperately to monetise everything they touch and/or move the goalposts to a different field entirely.

    A tablet or phone is not a substitute for a powerful PC, and won't be in the foreseeable future. They don't have the power, they don't have the options, and they don't have the versatility. For serious heavy users, power-users and hobbyists, indeed for most users whose needs extend further than Farcebook and Twit, there is no substitute for the PC. And users are, at last, slowly waking up to that fact.

    Sure, if you only want to do basic tasks and consume content, they're satisfactory, but for anything remotely serious, like creating high-quality content, they're nothing but toys. I bought a tablet, and may as well have saved my money, as I almost never use it. Why? Because it's not a computer, or even close to one. It's a toy, good for net-surfing and 'social media' and sod-all else. And it will never be anything more.

    But what really gets my goat, apart from MS (and others - Adobe for example. I won't be upgrading from CS5 because I will not go the subscription route. Same with Office 2010) pushing in this direction, are those whose computing needs are few, and many of whose computer-literacy and skills are seriously open to question, having the gall to think that, because a low-powered tablet is all they need or can use, then that's sufficient for everyone, and those who don't like it can lump it.

    It's not, and it won't be. And we will neither like it nor lump it, we'll simply find an alternative. And there are plenty.

    Those who like tablet/mobile 'computing' are more than welcome to it. But don't dare attempt to take my platform of choice away just because it doesn't suit you. I will resist, you can bank on it.


    EDIT: A disclaimer - this is not aimed at anyone in particular, so no-one here need go getting all offended.
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  3. Posts : 5,833
    Dual boot Windows 10 FCU Pro x 64 & current Insider 10 Pro

    No, the desktop workhorse tower PC (and laptops) won't be going away soon, especially in an office environment, but it sure is fading at a steady pace. Here is the most recent article I could find on the subject. I'm sure there are many more.
    The trend in recent years toward replacing laptops with tablets will also decline in 2014, because both consumers and businesses will become more discriminating as they sort out "the right device for the right usage pattern," Atwal said. Kantar Worldpanel released a survey this week showing uncertainty about buying a tablet on the part of non-tablet owners in the U.S.
    Even so, tablet sales are forecast to grow 38.6% in 2014 to 270.7 million units globally, with faster growth coming from markets outside the U.S. where lower cost, smaller and non-branded tablets will make a difference. Gartner said that hybrid tablets will add another 37 million units to that 2014 total.
    Here's a member that surprised me with his purchase. I'm hoping he doesn't mind me using him as an example. Like some of us, he no longer wants to be tied down to an office chair and a lappy is too cumbersome for his travels. pro 3&wt.mc_id=NYX_SEM_bing__SURFACE_BRAND_HW_FAM_surface pro 3

    I'm not here to sell anyone on it, but I think MS has a winner here. The specs on these things (along with a docking station) classifies it as a workhorse. In fact, it does way more than desktop tower considering the touch, pen, and versatility factors.

    The nitty gritty of all this is mobility along with miniaturization and power. I foresee a lot of professionals gobbling this form factor up. Why would we want to sit behind a desk when we can get work done on our patio, a restaurant, a park bench, a train a plane, etc? Why would we want a landline phone when we can take a cell phone with us anywhere? More and more consumers will purchase more mobile devices and there's one thing about business > The market rules. That's really the bottom line. I probably won't see the death of the desktop tower PC, but I think it'll eventually die off.
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  4. Posts : 9,652
    W10 Pro, W10 Home

    I probably won't see the death of the desktop tower PC, but I think it'll eventually die off.
    You maybe right HG, but hopefully not in my life time. The older I get the less appealing those "tiny" screens on portable devices get. Eye strain is a very real problem for me and that is why I have a desktop with a large LCD. Also, I enjoy "tinkering" with computer hardware and having a desktop computer is very easy to add peripheral devices to.
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  5. Posts : 630

    While, the author of the article seems to think Windows 9 will be "Microsoft's savior" as he puts it. I am not expecting much from Windows 9, I think they will further decrease window tools, focus on Bing integration and Microsoft's Cloud platform (have you seen the new cloud adds they have?). I believe they will not try to enhance any desktop tools, they want to push subscriptions, sell advertising and apps.

    Their focus is no longer on production nor the user, but the bottom line. Only after a year or two they have stopped producing, Surface RT, Pro and Pro 2, they didn't follow through with their mini tablet, so focus doesn't seem to be on that market. They just keep jumping from one thought to another, I think some call it grasping.
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  6. Posts : 983
    Windows 7/64 Professional

    A quality tablet is priced in the range of a quality laptop.
    It's lighter and thinner; so what. A laptop weighs less than a 6 pack. It has poorer cooling so how much hard work is one going to get done on a $3000.00 tablet.
    Their is a large part of computing public that want portable, that is a given. I believe most of that portable market just want a ipad with a bigger screen they can poke. If they can tweak, go to Facebook and get email their happy.In most cases they don't want to tinker or do work on a computer. Of course their will be companies that need that portability for traveling workers but doesn't a laptop do that now?
    Me being a member of the Seven Forum I see many times where a members has a tablet/netbook/noteboor with usb hubs and everything but their laundry plugged into it and wonder why it doesn't work. It doesn't work because they are asking it to do the work of a desktop and it can't. Their is a market for both portable and stationary computers. The new gadget, (tablets) is nothing but a large phone that you can't put in your pocket. It will sell in huge amounts and all the Apple type apps that Microsoft is hoping for will also sell.
    Their are two basic computing markets. Portable and stationary. I see no reason why Microsoft can't supply both markets.
    Some people need cars and some people need trucks. What does the manufactures do to solve the problem. Well we all know that answer; they make both and sell both. Many times one customer will buy both a car and a truck because of their needs. Same with portable and stationary computers. Many will buy both because of their needs and or wants.
    Microsoft doesn't have to leave one market to join the other market. Just be a supplier of both markets.
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  7. Posts : 220
    Windows 10


    I can look at this from booth sides since I have a PC and an iPad.
    The iPad is fun, and has it's uses.

    I use it to do things you can't do with a PC, i.e. shoot video, and photos.
    I drag it around to make people look at my videos and photos whether they want to or not.

    I use it while I'm watching TV to look up things like, I thought that guy died years ago so how can he be in this TV show?

    I take it to my doctors office to kill time while they make me wait 45 minutes for an appointment that I was on time for.

    That's about it, for everything else I use my PC, all of the hundreds of things I can't do on my iPad, like use Adobe Photoshop, play The Elder Scrolls Online, make animated 3D films, store a thousand .mp3 files and even more photos, print things to my wired printer, the list goes on and on.

    I don't think it's ever going to be practical to do a lot of these things on a pad computer.
    At least not until we get to the point where you just say, "Design a Web Page" and it does it on it's own.

    The PC isn't dead if you are serious about doing anything really useful, like graphic design, illustration, video editing, or managing large amounts of image, sound, or any other kind of file that takes any amount of space.

    I'm guessing that even an accountant wants to have a keyboard.

    If you are going to have one of those keypad covers why not just get a small laptop and get all the other stuff that goes along with having a real computer?

    Do you know how tedious it is to type anything on a touchscreen?

    I know I can't see a time when I could get along without a PC, and I'm guessing that's the case for a million other people as well.

    By the way, it says on the net that there are over a billion PCs in use in the world right now!

    That doesn't seem like a market you can ignore.

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  8. Posts : 11,246
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    Hi there

    the latest ms surface pro 3 is just as good as any high end laptop and has the advantage of being able to be used as a tablet OR PC. With an i7 processor, a 256 GB SSD and 4 - 8GB RAM what laptop is better -- especially as most laptops have a horrible 768 X 1366 screen resolution --the surface pro 3 has a far superior resolution.

    Ok this top end device isn't cheap but it's at roughly the same price as high end "ultra books" or a MacBook air - but it's so portable - and with a decent docking station can probably replace most desktops too. If you travel a lot you will appreciate this device immensely.

    These type of devices are the future -- and you need the OS to go with them to support the new hardware. My view is that the "Classic" tablet will be on the way out -- a 7 inch bog standard tablet IMO isn't really much use for anything sensible -- a decent mobile phone is a better choice - but a 12 inch screen with one of these new mobile devices is just fine -- and at home or work if you need a larger screen you can always use an external one - plus the docking station comes with 3 USB3 ports - a rarity to find more than one on a conventional laptop.

    If you've ever given a presentation - hooking up the surface Pro wirelessly to a smart TV is simplicity itself (and with decent screen resolution) - whereas looking at the older way of people dragging around heavy clunky Laptops with cables etc and hunting for power supplies, getting poor video resolution etc you have to feel really sorry for them.

    With the "super tablets" different users can switch their display instantly to the main screen without unplugging and re plugging of cables -- much better at large meetings when a few people need to show their screens. (I know software is around for people to share screens but it's a lot more fiddly than a user just clicking a URL with his surface pro).

    IMO unless you are a gamer the Classic DESKTOP is dead. with decent pocket size 2 TB drives you have enough local storage even on these "Super tablets".

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  9. Posts : 220
    Windows 10

    Hi again.

    I'm with Wenda.

    It's pretty much like a Sports Car and an SUV.

    They each have different uses, one is more fun, but one isn't going to replace the other, many people like me, will own both, just as I own an iPad and a PC.

    But if I had to choose only one, it would have to be the SUV and the PC.
    They actually serve a necessary purpose.

    Yes, pads are the coming thing for carry around use, but the PC isn't going anyplace until you can use it for gaming, graphic design, and all the other multitude of real world stuff that people do on their computers.

    Surprisingly one of the things I use my iPad for most is shooting photos and videos.
    That wasn't what I expected when I bought it.

    I have a SLR, but I still shoot 90% of my photos with my iPad, it's just handy.

    I've been looking at other pads, and what bothers me it the lack of compatibility.
    Everyone, (Apple, Samsung, Amazon) lock everything down so you have to use their stuff.

    I love the freedom of using a PC and having a whole world of content available.
    In many cases the apps are a joke, the Microsoft Mail app has no features and won't open my email.

    Last, I'm not going to upgrade my Adobe software to a subscription version either.
    I want to pay for it once and use it forever.

    I'm not going to pay for it over and over, for me CS 4 is as far as I go.
    And I don't want all my stuff stored online, no matter how safe it is.

    Now I'm going to go and play The Elder Scrolls Online for a while, I can't do that on my pad.

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