You’re Doing it Wrong: What Windows 8 Critics Missed

I read this article today about Windows 8’s poor performance record. A Windows 8 user myself, it got me thinking.

After the first month, my Windows 7 work machine finally lost its ongoing battle with hardware maintenance. IT confiscated it and left me with one option.

The office’s Windows 8 machine.

I was devastated. Although I’d never used Windows 8, coworkers regularly expressed frustration with it when certain projects required the machine’s use. The operating system was incomprehensible, the interface clunky, the new features inaccessible–the ultimate productivity buzz kill.

None of this changed when I started using it. Where the hell was the Start button? How was I supposed to access the necessary programs and folders? Why the not-so-new emphasis on Apps? I just couldn’t grasp the point.

Google Autocomplete: 2, Windows 8: 0
Google Autocomplete: 2, Windows 8: 0

A month in to my Microsoft misadventure, I took on a few projects involving Nokia’s new Windows Phones. These devices used the same Windows 8 OS, so my project manager assumed I would (1) find the transition easy, and (2) still hate the OS. He was right about the first part, but very wrong about the second.

Here’s the thing–Windows 8 (finally) embraces a new truth in software operations, and that’s interactivity. Consumers have become accustomed to touchscreen-enabled interfaces on their smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, and–with increasing frequency–laptops and personal computers. Despite the ever-decreasing annual sales of PCs, this new standard reigns supreme.

Which is why Windows 8 made so much more sense to me on the Nokia than it did on my Dell. The phone had a touchscreen, whereas both monitors in my dual setup did not. Throw in additional time with the OS and a new personal laptop with touchscreen capability, and eureka! Windows 8 (or, at least, Windows 8.1) was starting to make much more sense.

Does this mean I’m a convert? No. In all my time circling the technology industry, I’ve found it best to avoid aligning myself with a single operating system, software package or hardware manufacturer. Variability breeds creativity. Even so, Windows 8 ain’t half bad–once you experience it in the same manner as your smartphone or tablet.

That’s what everyone got wrong.

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