I’m still playing with the Windows 8 beta – er, sorry, “Consumer Preview” — and exploring its details. However, first impressions are important, and I think I have a few key observations to make.
Last year, I downloaded the developer preview when it became available. I didn’t spend too much time with it, because it was obvious how early of a build it was. Still, the Metro interface was promising, and the few apps that were available showed great promise.
One big complaint about the developer preview, though, was how much it relied on touch. You could use a mouse and a keyboard, sure, but they were second-class citizens. On the one hand, this was good: Microsoft desperately needed a good touch interface, and there was nothing better than Metro. But on the other hand, it was awkward to use on a traditional computer. Considering that this was the next version of Windows, that was a major problem.
Since then, Microsoft has attempted to soothe everyone’s fears with a consistent message – a message that was reiterated by Steven Sinofsky at the Consumer Preview launch event:
Sinofsky’s concern, however, is ensuring developers are on the same page, designing Metro apps that work just as well on touchscreens as they do with a mouse.
"The goal should be that the operating system scales with you," added Sinofsky.
"That’s what we mean by a no-compromise experience."
For the Consumer Preview, they took many steps to help make the Metro interface more intuitive for the keyboard and mouse, so that there were no compromises. But were they successful?