A desktop is not a tablet, and a tablet is not a desktop (or laptop)... RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • OK, so I'm prepared for the onslaught of "this is just a preview" and all the rest, but I've followed along pretty closely, and I believe Windows 8 is trying to create something (sorry, "re-envison") that does not need to be created.

    A tablet is not a "computer", it is a portable "portal" at best.  Yes, you can have it dockable so a real keyboard and mouse can be put to use, you might even have a "one-up" on Apple by making a tablet "ACT" more like a computer, but that is just adding features that really don't belong.  When you consider storage, computing power (CPU speed, RAM, capture devices, etc...), a tablet is just not the way to go.

    In the conference series, an oft repeated mantra is "Windows 8 is "touch first"".  OK, that's the killer right there.  Yeah, I've seen people get all wigged out at stroking the face of their smartphones and watching tiles slide by, it is visually stimulating, and works very well for a totally hand-held device, including the tablet you might use from the easy chair while watching TV or reading a book hosted on the device.

    I can see having a tablet, but I can NEVER see NOT HAVING a laptop AND desktop either.  And that is where the "touch-centric" design falls flat on its face.  I know there could be a slew of specific apps that can transform the portable into a data gathering tool, but given the limitations already mentioned, any data gathered will most certainly be put to REAL use on a desktop, a laptop, a server, or input into a database.

    Instead of providing fixes that millions of users would like to see in Windows 7, Windows 8 will be "touch first".  Very bad.  I DO NOT want to touch my screen at my desk, I want to use my mouse, my keyboard shortcuts, and of course my keyboard, along with any hardware I might choose to add to my desktop (or docked laptop).  I don't want my apps redesigned to be more "touch-centric", I want them to act just as they do now, improving on what they do now, but not sacrificing space so that fingers can get in and do what mouse pointers have been doing for decades.

    My hope is this "touch-centric" is just a bit of puffery, a corporate mantra to communicate the idea that they are serious about bringing "touch" into the mainstream.  But I also hope that touch will take a back seat when I install Win8 on a destop or laptop.  I don't want to be saddled with working AROUND touch to do what I can do perfectly well with a mouse and keyboard right now, I don't want to even have to consider getting a touch-compatible monitor, it is beyond unnatural to lift my hands from the keyboard + mouse to touch a screen.  The concept is flat out silly.

    In case it wasn't clear, desktops and laptops do not have problems that need to be solved with touch.  Portable devices almost beg for touch input, but less portable devices like laptops can only use touch effectively for a limited set of tasks, and in my opinion, barely has any application at all for desktops.

    It is my belief that Microsoft should strive to make the tablet interface all it can be, and not muddy the water by pretending you can re-invent the desktop experience by bringing tablet features.

    If Microsoft sticks to this touch-centric user interface, I'll probably keep using Win7 until support dies for it, I won't be installing a "touch-centric" OS on a machine I expressly do NOT want touch on.  This of course means my desktops, and while I can see touch having a bit more applicability to a laptop, I also don't really want to work around the touch-centric interface to put my laptop to good use.

    The final product should offer installation dialogs that present options for touch hardware on desktop and laptop installations.  If I install for no touch devices AT ALL, then I do not want to be saddled with working around an interface that attempts to make my desktop emulte a portable device.  I want a desktop, I want clickable icons, and I want menus, I don't want a field of tiles that are obviously meant for touch and gestures, I want a mouse and keyboard interface.

    There will be millions of people that just want to browse the internet, send emails, and maybe  smaller number that would like to use a tablet as a low profile, lightweight data collection tool (think scanning inventory in a warehouse)  but the people that actually have to use that data shouldn't be forced to adapt to "touch-centric" in order to do their work.

    My heartiest recommendation would be to stop this "touch-centric" as the answer to all computing needs mantra, and service the market as it REALLY is, portable devices and fixed devices.

    Don't waste time developing touch for devices that don't need it, and don't waste those people's time trying to work around an ill-concieved "vision".

    You want to take market share from Apple?  Sit down with your hardware partners and design an I-Pad killer.  Don't ruin computing for the rest of us by pretending touch is something that is begging to be mainstream.  To kill I-Pad, you have your work cut out for you.  First, you have to design a system that offers more connectivity.  After all, I-Pad isn't sold as a computer either, its a toy that CAN have apps that make it useful in some business scenarios, but Apple limits its connectivity and hardware, and expressly does not try and sell it as a replacement for COMPUTERS.  With Win8 you look to be trying to "steal their thunder" by offering the portable toy experience and trying to make it "a real computer too".  What a huge mistake.

    Fight them on their own turf.  Make your tablet OS every bit as fun, and fast, and MORE flexible than Apple's, but don't lose sight of the fact that the destop and business laptop are used for genuine data processing and genuine computing.  Don't try to make a toy OS do the work of real business, and don't make real business have to work around the toy interface to get their work done.

    Obviously this is all too late, Microsoft has made it clear they think they've got their finger "on the pulse of the market" and has decided to give real computing a seat in the back of the auditorium.

    Is it just the success of Apple's Toy-Pad that caused the Microsoft train to derail?  Did you even once consider that your customers might be better served by fixing things you've already "depreciated"?  How about putting some effort into making Media Player's tag editing truly world-class?  How about Media Center's quirks?  Media Center COULD be the absolute BEST set-top box interface, it's damn near perfect in appearence (if not implementation, yet), why not focus on providing the best experience possible with code you already have instead of trying to re-invent the world of computing by forcing touch whare it does not belong? 

    You have the opportunity to provide computing OS's, AND toy OS's.  You will be making a gigantic mistake trying to combine the two unless you are smart enough to have your setup programs get rid of the toy functions when installed on a genuine computer.  Doubt it?

    Lets just start calling Windows 8 --Vista II-- right now, give everybody time to find a real computing OS before Windows 7 support is dropped.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 3:27 PM

All replies

  • The interesting point is why are we reading so many reviews from blogs and sites that say that W8 is excellent, just like WP7.

    At this point, this W8 looks like the fiasco of the century, and WP7... who wants WP7?

    So why are so many "experts" writing wonderful reviews about them?

    This smells like $$$.

    For the rest, as you well say, tablets are just a toy of the moment, but I frankly doubt that they will survive for long or they will substitute laptops/netbooks/desktop in any percentage of the population, if any. I can't get to find the use of a tablet other than for 15 minutes use in bed, the toilet or in front of the TV.
    • Edited by pxp222 Sunday, September 18, 2011 3:52 PM
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 3:48 PM
  • I have to agree with many of your points. Metro seems to me to be pointless for the desktop, As such most users will disable the Metro UI and as Windows 8 is practically identical to Windows 7 in terms of functionality why would a desktop user upgrade?

    Why would someone using a tablet spend a hundred pounds on an OS when they would expect it to be free with the device.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 4:11 PM
  • I think you guys are missing it. The whole idea is to "re-envision" the whole computing experience. You should remember that this is a developer preview so much will change before coding to market. Also remember that you should have an open mind and try it. Yes using keyboard and mouse with metro feels very awkward at first. After you use it a little bit it feels very nice.

    My concern with the new "metro" start menu is old programs that install lots of icons. Not liking that all the icons get "pinned".

    Bobby Cannon
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 4:14 PM
  • aaahaha haha haha hha you've never laid your virgin fingers on an Eee Slate.
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 4:16 PM
  • I think we are witnessing a bit of users not understanding that computer-like features on a phone does not mean computers need to be more like those phones.

    I know over a hundred people that are 100% addicted to their smart-phones, getting and answering emails, attaching pics, even using those phones as wireless hotspots for "real" computers (something I like myself!). 

    But I do NOT want a smartphone where I feel like I need to have it with me to answer emails the instant they come in, to essentially remain connected to people 24/7 (hate that term but it has its uses).  I've never once "tweeted", I refuse to be so needy that I could see any value in a "facebook" account, and this whole "social networking" BS is for needy people.

    My phone is a flip-phone, and I've sent exactly (2) text messages from it.  Both while fishing.  But there is a needy guy from work who brings his I-Phone everywhere with him, and you can't have a simple discussion at lunch and dare utter the phrase "I'm not sure" because John will do a Google from his phone, provide an answer, and assume the air of someone who knew what we "weren't sure of" because of his Google-fu.

    We are creating a world with information at people's finger tips that they take credit for.  What's next, serious business meeting where traditional knowledge of the systems or operations under discussion are written off and we no longer need experts, all we need is somebody that can Google? 

    Information is neat, but Google cannot become a serious substitute for qualified expertice.  Right now in meetings I host I require people to turn OFF their phones and smart phones.  No one refuses, but I've caught people turning off the ring alert and actually trying to Google an answer to a current topic, and I've asked them to leave.  I want qualified people, not the world's fastest surfers.

    And so the lines are becoming blurred.  People see their phones as "computers" and their own predisposition is that their computers need to be more like their phones.  This very concept is what will come home to roost as the chicken that killed computing, unless, and that's a big UNLESS, Microsoft and others come to understand these are two (or more) market segments that expressly do not need to be merged, and will result in abject failure if it is attempted.


    Sunday, September 18, 2011 4:35 PM
  • Bobby, I tried it, and am still trying it.  Did you think I would go off on a rant like that based on heresay?

    And a word of caution on the "only a preview" statement you made.  By the time Windows7 was released for beta, is was feature locked, the only intention MS had was to fix bugs and solidify stability.  Even the hundreds of objections users had to TINY issues were ignored, so we waited patiently for SP1, going on faith that those issues would be addressed.  Sady, they were not.  You still see post in the Win7 forums from those who bought new machines and were shocked to find out that tag data in Media Player is still broken, and metadata from cameras is largely being ignored by the viewers and organizer applications MS provides.

    I have no wild expectations that MS will follow my well-intentioned advice, in fact I fully expect them to dismiss myself and others as "throwbacks from the old days that simply don't get it". 

    I disagree with Metro "feeling nicer" with a mouse and keyboard the more you use it too.  It simply does not belong, and it is tantamount to an injustice to assume it can be made to fit into non-touch computing.  To be clear, I do not want touch on anything but a portable device, and for my purposes, I include laptops in that category as well since a laptop has traditionally been used as a portable version of my workstation so I can remain effective in my business when away from my desk. 

    I get it.  What I don't get is why more effort isn't being put into explaining how Metro and "touch" isn't going to screw up my desktop and laptop experience, instead what I'm hearing is "touch first", "touch is mainstream", and looking like a damn portable phone is more important to core computing needs than I'd like.

    MS will do whatever it wants of course, all I can do is plant the seed now for the "I told you so" forest I'm growing.  Its up to THEM to not screw up core computing with their "vision".


    Sunday, September 18, 2011 5:04 PM
  • Actually we have tablets and touch-capable laptops for the people that need that sort of functionality at work (a forest of over 80,000 users, 64,000+ machines, 170+ servers, and 200+ IT professionals), but each one of them can't wait to get back to their "real" machines to do their work.

    The minute their "fancy demos" are done, they pack those expensive little toys back in their shoulder bags and go do their work on REAL machines. - EVERY - SINGLE - ONE - OF - THEM -.



    Sunday, September 18, 2011 5:12 PM