4 Questions about Windows 8 (and a lot more)

By Kip Kniskern | Posted June 2, 2011 34 comments

win8_start_webThe tip of the Windows 8 iceberg emerged today, at the D9 conference and at Computex, and after spending a few hours trying to digest what bits of info we could, we’re left with some first impressions and a lot of questions.

While not everyone was impressed, the look on Walt Mossberg’s face as he soaked in the implications of a fully touch immersive, live tile enabled, app powered (the apps themselves powered by HTML5 and JavaScript), ARM running Windows 8, was, well, priceless.  When Julie Larsen-Green called it the biggest change in Windows since Windows 95, Mossberg said “this is even bigger”.

What about Windows Live?
This move to HTML5 based apps sounds like a death knell for Windows Live Essentials as we know it, with its heavy handed approach to installing a suite of intermingled applications, all running on various versions of the .Net Framework, Silverlight, Visual C++, and Compact SQL.  We’re expecting to hear more about SkyDrive soon, rumored to be an HTML5 powered app.  How soon will Windows Live be fully HTML5?  What will be left of the current suite of apps?  Will Windows Live still be needed to “light up” Windows?  Certainly Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger aren’t going anywhere, but what will become of the rest of the suite?  So many questions!

How seamless will the connection between Windows 8 and Windows Phone be?
The tablet interface for Windows 8 is obviously very Windows Phone inspired, but where does Windows Phone end and Windows 8 begin?  Will apps be interchangeable?  Will the core OS be (eventually, say with Windows Phone 8) the same?  What will that mean for current Windows Phone development?  What about licensing, will you be able to run the same apps on your phone as your desktop as your tablet?

What about SKUs?
Microsoft loves SKUs.  Will all versions of Windows 8 be touch enabled?  Will all versions run the full underlying OS?  Sinofsky and Larsen-Green said that Windows 8 would run on everything from an 8” to a wall sized screen.  All for the same price?  What about ARM versions?

If Windows 8 apps are HTML5 based, will it require any Windows centric apps?
Could you have a Google version of Windows 8, running Chrome, Google apps, Google Calendar, and Gmail, by logging in to Google only (no Live ID at all) ?  Windows Phone (especially with the upcoming Mango update) has Bing built deeply into the OS.  Will Windows 8 do the same?  How HTML5 centric (read: open to the web) will Windows 8 truly be?

Of course we’re sure to have lots more questions as more details filter out about Windows 8, and we’ll hopefully have a lot of answers between now and Build/Windows in September.  What questions do you have about Windows 8?

Posted June 2nd, 2011 at 12:01 am
  • kev

    Also want to know where .NET and WPF/SL fit into all this. Is JS/HTML5 just one API into the Windows 8 app system? Is WPF being relegated to building legacy apps? As for .NET, surely they can’t be imagining developers doing the hardcore stuff in JS, so surely there must be some kind of .NET integration, right?

    Or did the Windows team just completely F over the Developer Tools team?

  • kev

    Also want to know where .NET and WPF/SL fit into all this. Is JS/HTML5 just one API into the Windows 8 app system? Is WPF being relegated to building legacy apps? As for .NET, surely they can’t be imagining developers doing the hardcore stuff in JS, so surely there must be some kind of .NET integration, right?

    Or did the Windows team just completely F over the Developer Tools team?

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    I want to know about WLE as well.

    Also:

    1) Where is the desktop version? There were leaked screenshots of it, with the user icon in the taskbar, and the new Windows Explorer

    2) Isn’t it a bit soon to change the interface? We’ve just got used to a new taskbar, after all.

    3) I can’t imagine this interface working very well with a keyboard and mouse (see 1st question).

    • Chris

      Think of this new UI as another media center. Where you can access everything in a full screen, touch enabled mode.

    • cuz84d

      please go to microsoft.com/presspass and watch the computex revieling windows 8 in taipei.. it will answer all your questions.

      1) This is the desktop version.  The start screen is the new start menu.  The taskbar is for older apps, there is a windows explorer with ribbon, but I wish it was cool like Zune software.
      2) a bit too soon, 15 years of a startmenu is not.  Taskbar is still there for regular windows apps
      3) this works great on mouse and keyboard as shown in the video

  • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

    I want to know about WLE as well.

    Also:

    1) Where is the desktop version? There were leaked screenshots of it, with the user icon in the taskbar, and the new Windows Explorer

    2) Isn’t it a bit soon to change the interface? We’ve just got used to a new taskbar, after all.

    3) I can’t imagine this interface working very well with a keyboard and mouse (see 1st question).

    • Chris

      Think of this new UI as another media center. Where you can access everything in a full screen, touch enabled mode.

    • wizkid

      please go to microsoft.com/presspass and watch the computex revieling windows 8 in taipei.. it will answer all your questions.

      1) This is the desktop version.  The start screen is the new start menu.  The taskbar is for older apps, there is a windows explorer with ribbon, but I wish it was cool like Zune software.
      2) a bit too soon, 15 years of a startmenu is not.  Taskbar is still there for regular windows apps
      3) this works great on mouse and keyboard as shown in the video

  • Anonymous

    Developers at Channel 9 are angry for the choice of HTML and JS: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/A-quick-look-at-Windows-8 (see the comments)

  • http://www.xamasoft.com/ Andrea Martinelli

    Developers at Channel 9 are angry for the choice of HTML and JS: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/A-quick-look-at-Windows-8 (see the comments)

  • Anonymous

    I want to know how much integration Bing, Xbox, and Zune have in the system… Like your comment, could their be a Google version of Windows 8?  Will it be more Windows Phone like with hubs and deep integration?

    I kind of hope that it somehow has both! :) More questions now than before I saw it…

  • uberlaff

    I want to know how much integration Bing, Xbox, and Zune have in the system… Like your comment, could their be a Google version of Windows 8?  Will it be more Windows Phone like with hubs and deep integration?

    I kind of hope that it somehow has both! :) More questions now than before I saw it…

  • john

    The only thing I am worried about is the new UI clashing with the legacy UI. I am sure they will skin the legacy UI a bit differently, but I want to know just how seamless it will be.

    • Anonymous

      The Office 15 apps appear to be getting the Metro UI treatment. However I don’t think you can expect to see them look like the new Windows 8 UI yet. I would imagine it will be Office 16 before that happens.

  • john

    The only thing I am worried about is the new UI clashing with the legacy UI. I am sure they will skin the legacy UI a bit differently, but I want to know just how seamless it will be.

    • Super2online

      The Office 15 apps appear to be getting the Metro UI treatment. However I don’t think you can expect to see them look like the new Windows 8 UI yet. I would imagine it will be Office 16 before that happens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593502040 Mario Gandasegui

    HTML5 + JS!

    These are great news! One with great promise for the millions of developers who program in ASP.NET, JS and CSS.. In some sense, Microsoft is democratizing Windows development: yes, more developers will be able to build “native” Windows applications, from .Net, PHP, Python,etc… I’m almost don’t recognize Microsoft, and I say that in a good way!
    Obviously it causes a lot of concern for people who specialized in Silverlight, but The mobile market is growing quickly and consists largely of other platforms, Microsoft just doesnt have the same monopole it used to have, and it has no choice to be forward thinking.

    Have you tried ASP.NET MVC, C#, Razor, jQuery … it’s Awsome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593502040 Mario Gandasegui

    HTML5 + JS!

    These are great news! One with great promise for the millions of developers who program in ASP.NET, JS and CSS.. In some sense, Microsoft is democratizing Windows development: yes, more developers will be able to build “native” Windows applications, from .Net, PHP, Python,etc… I’m almost don’t recognize Microsoft, and I say that in a good way!
    Obviously it causes a lot of concern for people who specialized in Silverlight, but The mobile market is growing quickly and consists largely of other platforms, Microsoft just doesnt have the same monopole it used to have, and it has no choice to be forward thinking.

    Have you tried ASP.NET MVC, C#, Razor, jQuery … it’s Awsome!

  • Anonymous

    Where’s Kinect?

  • #TeamCortana

    Where’s Kinect?

  • Anonymous

    Frankly, as Kip frames this story, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. This isn’t even the latest build of the software. That’s because the reveals are going to come in stages and compliment each new conference event as they unfold.  This is interest peaking marketing at it’s finest, it’s designed to set the blogosphere on fire, set the stage for what’s next and get everyone clamoring for more. I must say it was very well done and accomplished exactly what it was supposed to. Windows 7 is now alive bringing everything into one family, as it should be.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. This is just the beginning. There are a lot of questions. I am dieing to see how they meld in kinect functionality, pen input and live services. Office may not get the UI upgrade but if they have even more solid pen support it won’t matter. I would love a thin light tablet i could take to meetings and use just like a pad of paper. Then walk it back to my office, slap it on a dock and hack away at a keyboard. I finally feel like we are getting a lot closer to that.

  • Super2online

    Frankly, as Kip frames this story, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. This isn’t even the latest build of the software. That’s because the reveals are going to come in stages and compliment each new conference event as they unfold.  This is interest peaking marketing at it’s finest, it’s designed to set the blogosphere on fire, set the stage for what’s next and get everyone clamoring for more. I must say it was very well done and accomplished exactly what it was supposed to. Windows 7 is now alive bringing everything into one family, as it should be.

    • jibba_jabba

      I agree. This is just the beginning. There are a lot of questions. I am dieing to see how they meld in kinect functionality, pen input and live services. Office may not get the UI upgrade but if they have even more solid pen support it won’t matter. I would love a thin light tablet i could take to meetings and use just like a pad of paper. Then walk it back to my office, slap it on a dock and hack away at a keyboard. I finally feel like we are getting a lot closer to that.

  • http://www.flavors.me/fludlyt Fludlyt

    Some more questions:
    Will SkyDrive be deeply integrated into Windows 8?
    Will applications be able to store settings in SkyDrive?
    What about Kinect integration?
    Will Zune be the main media player (as iTunes is in OSX)?

    I’m very interested in what will come out of the BUILD conference to see how they unify app development across Windows Phone, traditional windows and the new UI. I’m also guessing the ARM version will get rid of a lot of the legacy code as it will not be necessary being that x86 programs will not run (if I’ve understood correctly). 

    As a sidenote the search in Windows 8 should be similar to the Bing app for iPad http://bit.ly/kPxw9r. That could change how a lot of people perform their search. Hopefully most tablets will have a microphone so that we can use the TellMe speech to text functionality.

  • http://www.flavors.me/fludlyt Fludlyt

    Some more questions:
    Will SkyDrive be deeply integrated into Windows 8?
    Will applications be able to store settings in SkyDrive?
    What about Kinect integration?
    Will Zune be the main media player (as iTunes is in OSX)?

    I’m very interested in what will come out of the BUILD conference to see how they unify app development across Windows Phone, traditional windows and the new UI. I’m also guessing the ARM version will get rid of a lot of the legacy code as it will not be necessary being that x86 programs will not run (if I’ve understood correctly). 

    As a sidenote the search in Windows 8 should be similar to the Bing app for iPad http://bit.ly/kPxw9r. That could change how a lot of people perform their search. Hopefully most tablets will have a microphone so that we can use the TellMe speech to text functionality.

  • Anonymous

    Can i install itunes on it and manage devices from the tablet???

    • Anonymous

      Yup… look at the UI below… if Apple connects to the new UI with HTML5 all the better.

      • Anonymous

        sweet!!! then a tablet form of this really has potential…as long as it as
        usb ports and hdmi

  • Shamu

    Can i install itunes on it and manage devices from the tablet???

    • the3rdpower

      Yup… look at the UI below… if Apple connects to the new UI with HTML5 all the better.

      • Shamu

        sweet!!! then a tablet form of this really has potential…as long as it as
        usb ports and hdmi