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Microsoft still doesn't 'get' tablets

    General discussion

  • This is in response to yesterday's blog post:


    Microsoft was making smart phones and tablets years before anyone else.  The main reason why these devices didn't sell well is that they thought of smart phones and tablets as just portable computers rather than entirely different classes of devices.  

    They tried to force a desktop UI onto these devices.  

    Apple succeeded where Microsoft failed because they correctly realized that entirely new devices required entirely new UIs and new input methods (touch screen).

    Sadly, Microsoft hasn't seemed to learn from their mistakes and are just repeating the past.  They still see desktops/tablets/smart phones as one device.  This time, they are trying to force a smart phone/tablet UI on a desktop but it's still the same basic mistake.

    The way you use a tablet/smart phone and the way you use a desktop computer are completely different:

    • Tablets and smart phones are used primarily for consumption of data - web surfing, e-mails, social networking, watching movies, casual gaming, etc. 
    • Desktops are used primarily for the production of data - word processing, spreadsheets, running business applications, data entry, software development, hard-core gaming, etc. 

    These are two different use cases.  

    I can't help but wonder whether Microsoft bothered to buy iPads for their Win8 developers so they could figure out how people actually use tablets.

    Whatever the reason, Microsoft still doesn't 'get' tablets.



    • Edited by I-DotNET Wednesday, October 05, 2011 12:20 PM Whitespace.
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 12:12 PM

All replies

  • I think there's a lot of truth in this message. I've said myself that Microsoft appear to be trying to hit two different targets with one shot.
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 3:56 PM
  • Correct. MS failed with all Windows version on tablets because of a Desktop UI which is difficult to use on tablets, now they fail with Windows8 because they force desktop users to use a touch/tablet UI on desktop PCs. Both will never work. But Microsoft ist complety ignorant about this fact.
    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 5:06 PM
  • Ready...Fire...AIM!!
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 8:53 PM
  • Why exactly does there have to be this separation?  I mean, why do I need two separate devices?  I personally think Microsoft gets things really well, and this is exactly the type of setup I want.



    So say you need to write a long document on a trip, but also want to consume data.  Do you really want to bring two devices to do so?

     

    One device that fits both categories sounds perfect to me.  Now, I'm not fully convinced that Microsoft will pull it off based on my usage of the preview.  It still needs a lot of work.  However, the reasoning behind the decision is 100% right as far as I'm concerned.

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 3:59 AM
  • @JHoff80: Do you have a desktop and a tablet?
    Thursday, October 06, 2011 3:22 PM
  • I'm a bad example to use here.  I've got a Media/Gaming PC that is a desktop, a Home Server, an old Windows slate upgraded to Win7, and a convertible Dell XT2, in addition to my HP Touchpad (and I've used the iPad before as well).

    These media consumption tablets are so limited in their scope for most things that probably 80% of the time I'd rather be using an actual computer.  Yes, they have great games, and some of the apps that give information are great, and the tablet works well as an e-reader.  However, when forced to use them for actual work, it's very frustrating.


    This means that on a trip where I actually need to get anything done, I need the XT2.  I don't think we're in disagreement at all on this, either.  Both a laptop and current media tablets are designed for different reasons.

    However, I still have to ask why does that have to be the case?  Why can't I have a full computer at my desk, undock it, and have a media consumption tablet?  This seems to be Microsoft's strategy, that you can have all the power of your actual computer when you need it, with the usability of a tablet when you want that.  As I said above, I'm not fully sure that they'll be able to pull it off yet, but I definitely applaud the strategy.

    Also, I wonder how many of your complaints about how people actually use tablets is due to the barebones app selection at the moment.  I mean, what we have at the moment is like using an iPad without iTunes, Mail, Contacts, and anything else besides the browser.  I have to imagine that if someone hypothetically used an iPad like that, they would be complaining about how Apple doesn't understand it either.

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 4:05 PM
  • JHoff80, based on my usage of the preview on an acer w500 tablet (with detachable keyboard) I don't think Microsoft have realised their vision of 'one device / both categories' just yet but W8 certainly has the potential.

    In pure tablet mode I still find I'm thrown back into desktop every now and again, but this is only a dev preview and as you said it still needs a lot of work to bring the newborn 'metro' up to scratch.

    When docked with a mouse attached I have no problems working in the Desktop mode.

    I think MS could pull this off but they really need some proper Metro productivity apps (email client, calendar, notes, pdf viewer etc) ready to be distributed with the beta. If MS are still dropping users in Desktop mode for these then they will probably fail in the tablet space (which would be a shame because after disliking Windows for over a decade I'm actually really impressed by this OS).


    Acer W500 tablet Ageing HP laptop Too much apple stuff
    Sunday, October 09, 2011 12:42 AM
  • I'm a bad example to use here.  I've got a Media/Gaming PC that is a desktop, a Home Server, an old Windows slate upgraded to Win7, and a convertible Dell XT2, in addition to my HP Touchpad (and I've used the iPad before as well).

     

    I might be a bad user myself. I've got an HP Touch Smart Windows Machine and the Asus EEE Slate (both running Windows 8 now) in addition to a few Windows Phones and some Android and iOS devices. I find Windows 8 pleasant to use. I think it needs a few Metro productivity applications and then I'll be set. 
    Joel Ivory Johnson | http://www.j2i.net | Windows Phone Developer MVP
    It takes all the running you can do to stay in one place.If you want to get somewhere else,you must try to run at least twice as fast as that.
    Sunday, October 09, 2011 4:46 AM
  • I ditched my desktops 8 years ago and have replaced them with laptops that are configured to be more like servers.  Three years ago I ditched my laptop-only-machines for ones that can be tablets as well.  I do not regret the switch at all.  Up to Windows 8, everything ran fine when I was using my laptops as a desktop and as a tablet.  If they were difficult to use, well, that is on the end user and not on Microsoft.  Really, my 5 year old niece had no problems using my laptops in either form nor did my 85 year old grandmother and neither has a computer in their home.  So if you have difficulty issues using Windows, that's on you.

    I don't have a problem with Microsoft coming out with one OS that can cover tablet and "desktop", but there needs to be an option where you can choose which one you want and it would be nice to be able to switch back and forth as easily as I switch from using my "desktop" to "tablet".  I know there is a lot of work left to be done before Microsoft even thinks about shipping this version. 

    Sunday, October 09, 2011 4:17 PM
  • Microsoft has "gotten" tablets right for more than 3 years now. It is Apple and Google that do not "get" tablets and how people use them.  Android is a bit easier to use than i-Pad but still they are nothing more than a color e-reader/tiny screen DVD player that you pay $500 for. For a tablet to be really functional for anything more than an e-reader toy it must integrate into a network (business or home). 

    I have managed to use my "smart" phone as a hand-held computer for more than 10 years now starting with Windows CE. Make no mistake, this is exactly what I wanted to do with it, phone calls and SMS were a nice side features.  I am not watching movies, playing games, or consuming data as you say.  I am fixing spreadsheets, adding to databases, and running business applications on it.  And yes, I even read/send emails.

    As for my tablets, they are expected to double as laptops.  If they cannot (which i-Pad and Android can't), I will not buy them.  Here again, Microsoft has been getting it right and understands the market.  Microsoft as also gotten touch screens right for nearly a decade; Apple and Google - not getting it right even now.

    This is not about two use cases as both of your example cases are used on both form factors.  This is all about two different types of users who may use both form factors.  Huge difference.  And you cannot make an e-reader/data consumption device equal to a tablet that has a full function OS.

    Sunday, October 09, 2011 4:40 PM
  • Fun read. This has the potential of being as polarizing as the 'can't close apps' thread ;) I'm in the 'I think this is great' camp. I even think MS can pull it off. What I am concerned about is their ability to convince others...you know, marketing. Lack of it is what killed PPCs, Windows Mobile, Zune and is crippling Windows Phone.

    I'm one of those bad examples. I have a Windows tablet (HP Slate, bad form factor for Win 7, might work with 8) an iPad and Android tablet (Sony S). Of course also the litany of PCs, laptops, phones. This includes the Dell Duo, which is what the preview is running on. Good test platform as it is a convertible, allowing pure slate usage as well as keyboard mouse evaluation.

    I don't think iPads are all that far from being a reasonable production device. Pages, Numbers and Keynote, are pretty good. Docs to Go, and other more OFFICEish options are out there. There is no shortage of keyboards to make longer sessions more 'natural', especially considering it supports BT HID. There are things that you can do easily with an iPad that take a bit more effort on Windows, or even, MACs.  If MS made Office for iPad (iOS), I think they could just ditch this tablet thing and make scads of money ;). Make Office Web work on the iPad and there would tons of happy campers. Not as keen on Android. I find it a bit obtuse in some of the things you have to mess with to get it to work right, the lack of consistant quality in the apps, and the general hobbyish nature of the ecosystem. Just my opinion of course. Wouldn't want to be struck by lightning and a new droid spring from my head.

    Back to Win8, what's wrong with a great unifying theory? Why shouldn't I be able to do both the typical tablet things and the typical desktop/laptop things, with one device. [desktop/laptop differentiation only happens anymore with extreme processing requirements. For most folks, it makes no difference, except you can take the laptop with you.] I can absolutly see my self with a Slate device that sits in a dock at my desk, hooked up to a keyboard and mouse (likely BT), a big monitor, or two, a wired network, speaker system, and some mass storage. {I've actually set this up as a demo with my HP Slate. Works. Bit slow, but that's the hardware, not an inherent problem.} I can see myself grabbing the slate and retiring to the family room to browse the TV lineup, or read some news, comics or social sites, from the Metro UI. When I travel I can grab that very same slate and the keyboard dock that goes with it (ala Asus Transformer) which extends my battery life such that I can watch a movie and get some work done on a long flight. Nothing says I need to keep it docked though. Keyboard could be checked, or stay in the carry on, while the slate, is with me in the seat. I'm not going to write a thesis, but I can review a presentation, and fix a typo (there is always one), and change some numbers in a spreadsheet. This is real easy if the thing supports an active stylus.

    So, here's to MS, and support for their vision of a single device that can make my vision a reality. Please just don't make it so my MarioKart sound continues when I switch to a spreadsheet, or I have to go to the METRO interface when switching Office apps when the thing is docked, and I'm on a mouse keyboard, and external monitor. Oh, and hire some guys that know how to market. Let them work on Windows Phone until you need them for this.

    Sunday, October 09, 2011 6:12 PM
  • @Jeltez42,

      I'm guessing you're a techie (multiple machines, like servers comment) and maybe the iPad and android tablets don't meet your requirements but for a lot of people they are 'good enough' to meet their computing needs (emails, facebook, twitter, games, productivity & lifestyle apps) so to say they don't 'get' tablets isn't strictly true - they just don't 'get' the tablet you want (and me as it happens). My iPad has integrated into my home network so well I no longer use my MacBook and my mac mini is now just a media server, where the iPad fails (in my case) is trying to integrate into fully the workplace, make no mistake it can integrate but only as an emergency kludge (webmail, RDC onto servers etc) and that means I still have to carry two devices. I'm excited by W8 because it has the potential to be both the devices I want in a single unit.

    You're spot on with it being about different types of user and Apple/Google have given users brilliant devices for information consumption and light creation tasks - these people don't need a full blown Desktop environment (I won't say OS because IOS/Android have full blown OS's under their touch UI's) but what Microsoft have been spouting for a decade or more is that they do need a Desktop and anything less than that is short changing them, what's changed (in my opinion) is that they've accepted that Desktop on a tablet isn't perfect and thrown Metro into the mix to meet the requirements of the various form factors.

    I agree with you that 'you should be able to switch between desktop/tablet modes (for those that need both) but I think that the switch should be a deliberate action by the user ie. Leave me in Metro until I explicitly jump over the fence to desktop and vice versa if I'm in desktop mode leave me there until I invoke a Metro app (not quite as sure about the desktop->metro transition), there should be no surprises to the user as to which UI they get when they click/touch an app.

     


    Acer W500 tablet & dock, New 'works' Lenovo laptop Too much apple stuff. Remember: A Developer Preview is just that, a preview for developers - not everything will work 'just right' on day 1.
    Sunday, October 09, 2011 6:48 PM
  • "Microsoft has "gotten" tablets right for more than 3 years now. It is Apple and Google that do not "get" tablets and how people use them."

    Surely, you jest.  You do realize that Apple controls 68.3% of the market, right?

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/09/repot-ipad-share-of-tablet-market-inches-upward-as-android-suffers.ars

    And if you like Windows 7 on a tablet, you may not like what MS is doing in Windows 8.  They've crippled the Start Menu. Most of its functionality has been stripped away.  You don't even have a Programs menu any more. 

    According to Mary Jo Foley on the Windows Weekly podcast, Microsoft does not intend Metro style apps to be simply tablet style apps.  Instead, Microsoft envisions that all apps be the Metro style, and that companies rewrite all their business apps to be Metro-style.  The 'classic' Windows UI is only being kept for backwards compatibility.
     
    It's about 10 minutes in the following video:
     
    http://www.winsupersite.com/article/podcasts/windows-weekly-227-twins-140698


    • Edited by I-DotNET Monday, October 10, 2011 12:57 PM Grammar.
    Sunday, October 09, 2011 7:14 PM
  • Does anyone else here own an iPad?  I've had mine since they came out, and I can tell you that the way I use a tablet and a desktop are completely different.  I have 3 friends who also have an iPad and from what I can gather, they use it pretty much the same way I do.
    Sunday, October 09, 2011 7:17 PM
  • Does anyone else here own an iPad?  
    I've got the original one, but I don't use it much since I got the Asus EEE Slate.

    And if you like Windows 7 on a tablet, you may not like what MS is doing in Windows 8.  They've crippled the Start Menu. Most of its functionality has been stripped away.  You don't even have Programs menu any more. 

    This isn't a problem for me personally. Since Windows Vista after I press the "Start" key I start typing the name of the program that I want to use and when it pops up in the results I press "Enter." I do the same thing on Windows 8, once the start menu appears I start typing the name of the program I want and let it filter. If you are using a slate (no keyboard) then you can press the magnifying glass on the start menu to do the same thing. For programs that you use a lot I would suggest pinning them. One can do this on the iOS devices to, go to the search screen and start typing a name...

    According to Mary Jo Foley on the Windows Weekly podcast, Microsoft does not intend Metro style apps to be simply tablet style apps.  Instead, Microsoft envisions that all apps be the Metro style, and that companies rewrite all their business apps to be Metro-style.  The 'classic' Windows UI is only being kept for backwards compatibility.

    I'm actually making plans to do something like this now. Met with the authors of a critical business component this past Thursday and they confirmed Metro/Windows 8 compatibility. We already have the beta version of the component. While Windows 8 isn't Silverlight derived it does borrow from some of the solutions that exists in Silverlight and Windows Phone. The component was already working in Silverlight and being ported to Windows Phone. With very little effort the authors were able to get it working in Metro.
    Joel Ivory Johnson | http://www.j2i.net | Windows Phone Developer MVP
    It takes all the running you can do to stay in one place.If you want to get somewhere else,you must try to run at least twice as fast as that.
    Sunday, October 09, 2011 8:32 PM
  • Amen.

    I like Win 8, Metro, and Windows Phone 7.5.  I have an iPad. It feels broken now since it can't print (I don't own one of the 7 available printers for it), can't stream from my media server, can't do fast app switching, can't do instant messaging, can't do anything worthwhile beyond e-reader, basic web-surfing, games, and email.  I hate being tethered to iTunes....and who was it that doesn't understand tablets?

    Monday, October 10, 2011 2:24 PM
  • I think Microsoft gets it; what they get is if they use their Windows monopoly to seed the population of Windows users with a touch UI that those users will demand touch devices. "I would be sooo much more productive if I had a touch screen rather than a regular monitor". The more "re-inventing" they do the more dev tools, productivity tools, and other software upgrades they sell. It has nothing to do with providing a better computing interface; it's all about the money. That's exactly how Apple does it.

    They're using the same leverage with Metro IE and the lack of plug-in support. They want content providers to move to HTML5 supported video so they make it difficult for average users (who have come to accept these limitations on their iDevices) to access Flash, Silverlight and other content from Metro IE.

    Change is good when you want to sell upgrades.

    Monday, October 10, 2011 7:39 PM
  • @DeathByVisualStudio
    Some might think your first paragraph is a bit cynical, maybe the designers/developer are striving for a 'better computing interface' but by the time it's been through the marketing department its all about 'does the feature set provide a compelling reason to upgrade?' and then 'How much can we charge for it'. That's business I guess and long may it continue.

    I'm a bit puzzled about your second paragraph and the reasons behind the enforced limitations in Metro IE, my view is MS want developers to port (or develop afresh) Metro apps rather than relying on redeploying flash/SL apps because they want lots of nice Metro apps for the Store (with a 30% (or whatever they decide on) cut going to MS). Today's SL/Flash apps can run on W8 tablets (in desktop mode) but come the W8 ARM tablets its going to be Metro or nothing (unless they port SL?) and a W8 arm tablet might be the volume seller (in the current iPad/Android consumer market) as long as there are the apps to run on it.

    "I would be sooo much more productive if I had <New thing> rather than <Old thing>". lol guilty of this myself on more than one occasion


    Acer W500 tablet & dock, New 'works' Lenovo laptop Too much apple stuff. Remember: A Developer Preview is just that, a preview for developers - not everything will work 'just right' on day 1.
    Monday, October 10, 2011 10:37 PM
  • PostPCera:

    The fact is they have Silverlight running on ARM today (WP7) so that is a non-issue when it comes to W8 ARM devices. They don't need the whole Silverlight stack either; just the stuff for playing video. Silverlight "apps" are fine running in "legacy" (a.k.a. desktop) mode. If Adobe wants to provide a plug-in for W8 ARM - great, no skin off of Microsoft's back. The key here is for causal user not business users; make it work well for them and not punish them because you have some "strategy" that involves manipulating them or blaming others ("well it's not out fault that CNN hasn't converted their videos to HTML5 compatible video protocols").

    The ability to run flash or silverlight video via IE Metro has nothing to do with pushing devs to write native metro apps. Nobody bought the idea Steve Jobs tried to sell with the initial iPhone - web apps. Everyone wants native apps. It's an internal fight betwen windiv and devdiv in Microsoft. WinDiv wants to kill Silverlight, dead as a doornail, and this is a nudge in that direction. When Windows Phone 8 comes out it will be the same OS as the tablets - W8 ARM. That's their master plan (again) -- "Windows Everywhere (no matter how much it hurts)". There will be no Silverlight on WP8.

    Have you tried clicking on a link in a desktop app (other than IE)? Try a link in a Word document. Where does that take you? Oh Metro IE of course! What if that link was supposed to take you to a flash or silverlight video? Sorry, one more step: riase the app bar, select the document icon, and select "view in desktop" -- oh wait that's three steps, my bad. Yes I know this is a preview but methinks these little inconviences are hardly rough edges that they'll iron out.

     

    Monday, October 10, 2011 11:19 PM
  • DeathBy...

    Didn't know about SL on WP7/arm so definitely didn't know about no SL on WP8, I was aware of the rumours around the writing being on the wall for SL and the almost total lack of SL mentioned in the Build sessions I've watched. So Microsoft have another hyped technology that they've then dumped, same old same old eh. Pity really SL looked quite good.

    I wasn't trying to defend or excuse MS's lack of flash/SL in Metro btw just investigating possible motives, at the end of the day this being bounced from desktop to metro and back to desktop sucks and I have ever reducing faith that they will sort it out by beta or even release or ever :( In spite of that I still like Metro.

     

     


    Acer W500 tablet & dock, New 'works' Lenovo laptop Too much apple stuff. Remember: A Developer Preview is just that, a preview for developers - not everything will work 'just right' on day 1.
    Tuesday, October 11, 2011 2:18 AM
  • Hi I-DotNET

    I feel that it is well said...with right words on whatever I felt so far.

    Based on the my user experience with this windows for past one month...I realized this.

     

    1. Metro UI is fantastic on tablet. Period. I love it, the Edge UI, switching between apps and snap etc. I am happy.

    2. Everyday I used about 2 to 3 hours on the desktop too. Since, Microsoft calls the desktop is also an app, it doesn't feel user friendly.

    Here it is what happens.

     

    Windows 7 Windows 8
    To open Control panel
    Click Start Menu Click Start menu to main screen
    Click Control panel Click Control panel
    Scroll to the bottom
    Click More settings
    To Open Adobe pdf reader
    Click Start Menu Call "Charm"
    Open "Pdf reader" from Recent list Click Search
    Type "Adobe"
    or  Choose apps (for filtering)
    Click Start Menu Click Pdf Reader
    Click All programs
    Open "Pdf reader"
    or
    Click Show desktop icon Click Start menu to main screen
    Open "Pdf reader"  Click desktop
    Open "Pdf reader" 

     

    On any of these, the real situation is "Number of clicks", for touch based, I did not feel any problem, But when I use the desktop, I feel lot of unfriendly. No offense, Just I share my user experience.

    I understand that I can enable windows 7 task bar,  But if windows 8 looks like Windows 7, I just don't find reason to switch to windows 8.

    I had tried windows 7 on tablet, the desktop version is not comfortable on tablet. Quite frustrating. Now tablet version is unfriendly on desktop, Takes bit longer time to open any apps than the traditional desk top version.

    If Microsoft can find a way to "Minimize the number of clicks" and have a desktop version of windows instead of forcing the tablet UI in to the desktop, it will be more interesting to switch myself in to windows 8.

    In the following weeks, I am going to put my user experience to contribute for better friendliness, Because Microsoft have come up with fantastic concept.

    Thanks

    Sincerely,

    Chandra

     

     

     

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011 5:24 AM
  • @Chandra:

    Sorry, I didn't see your post.  To get to search in Metro, go to the Start Screen and just start typing.  It's easy enough to do, but not exactly discoverable or intuitive.  So far, I don't think Microsoft has addressed the discoverability of Metro's features. 

    Something I'm more concerned about it is cycling through opened apps by swiping on the left-hand side of the screen.  Aside from the discoverability issue (again, who would guess that this is the way to do this?), if I've opened 10 apps, does that mean it can take 10 swipes to get to the app I want?

    Sunday, October 23, 2011 5:22 PM
  • "Discoverability" is an issue with anything new and not unique to metro (eg. IPad double click home button to bring up running tasks, click and hold to end them, click and hold app icons to rearrange, drag one icon over another to create a folder etc). That said there are some discovery issues in metro that should be fixed: scroll bars only showing there is more content if you attempt to swipe, app bars are invisible until you try and swipe up - what if there was no more content or there was no app bar for that screen? - a wasted gesture. I can cope with OS 'features' being hidden until I know the secret swipe/keypress etc (eg search, charms etc) as a 5 min "Intro to Metro" video would get me up and running in no time but deliberately hiding the visual clues that there is more content / features is a pain.

    I'm hoping the next Build blog is about task switching, it seems to be a common criticism on the forum and something MS need to address. 


    Acer W500 tablet & dock, New 'works' Lenovo laptop Too much apple stuff. Remember: A Developer Preview is just that, a preview for developers - not everything will work 'just right' on day 1.
    Sunday, October 23, 2011 6:50 PM
  • Apple controls 68.3% of the market

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/09/repot-ipad-share-of-tablet-market-inches-upward-as-android-suffers.ars

    Correction: Apparently, that article from Ars Technica is misleading.  According to this PC World article, that's just the percentage of tablets shipped, not the number actually sold

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/242407/apples_ipad_dominance_fades_i_dont_think_so.html#tk.nl_dnx_t_crawl

    Sunday, October 23, 2011 10:40 PM
  • I have the HP Slate 500 (something went wrong with the touch screen, so it isn't working so well now).  So I got the Samsung Series 7 Slate.  What an amazing difference, more processor, more ram, even Windows 7 works beautifully.  I've gotten Windows 8 installed, but still need to get the drivers all installed.  Microsoft has this down, future hardware will make desktop OS features necessary as well the touch interface.
    Gray Knight
    Monday, November 07, 2011 12:36 AM
  • Do you have an iPad?  If so, how many hours a day do you spend using it?
    Monday, November 07, 2011 12:38 AM
  • if I've opened 10 apps, does that mean it can take 10 swipes to get to the app I want?


    I still use  Alt-Tab.   ; )    What I'm puzzled by is that  Aero's Flip 3D  doesn't work.  It seems like it would be a natural thing to do with this OS.


    ---

    Monday, November 07, 2011 1:31 PM
  • Sure, Alt-Tab works on a desktop, but most tablets don't come with a physical keyboard.

    Also, we're entering a new era of computing where technology is being consumerized.  Most consumers don't know about Alt-Tab and would never guess this key combo on their own. If iOS has taught us anything, it's that UIs should be simple and obvious.

     



    • Edited by I-DotNET Monday, November 07, 2011 1:42 PM Tweak.
    Monday, November 07, 2011 1:37 PM
  • Sure, Alt-Tab works on a desktop, but most tablets don't come with a physical keyboard.

    On the Asus EEE they have a key that is dedicated to slipping through programs. Unfortunately at this time the Windows 8 CTP doesn't recognize it. :-(
    Joel Ivory Johnson | http://www.j2i.net | Windows Phone Developer MVP
    It takes all the running you can do to stay in one place.If you want to get somewhere else,you must try to run at least twice as fast as that.
    Monday, November 07, 2011 4:44 PM
  • @Chandra:

    Sorry, I didn't see your post.  To get to search in Metro, go to the Start Screen and just start typing.  It's easy enough to do, but not exactly discoverable or intuitive.  So far, I don't think Microsoft has addressed the discoverability of Metro's features. 


    Your proposal works fine if you are on a laptop, or have a keyboard. If on a slate, you don't get a keyboard in the start menu until you swipe in the charms and hit search. Still not much more effort than on the desktop, click windows, click in search box and type. I think a lot of folks will begin to take advantage of the start screen customization, putting oft used progams up front ot just one screen over. At that point getting to something quickly will be better on Metro, whether it is a Metro or Legacy App. My gripe right now is that there is so little I can do via Metro, so I am constantly in the Desktop, and that has enough changes (start menu) to be a bit irritating. That is clearly because we aren't even at Beta yet.

    I think there is still some work that needs to be done on usability, under two assumptions. 1) user has a slate and NO keyboard or mouse, and 2) user has a keyboard and mouse and doesn't want to touch the screen. One of my issues with my iPad, which actually does do pretty good at productivity using Docs to Go or the iWorks suite (lite), is I can't use a mouse and have to tap the screen periodicaly when using a keyboard. It's awkward. Android on slates isn't too bad, with keyboard and mouse support and Office substitutes. Both iOS and Android do fine with cloud storage options, but neither will get me Project, Publisher, Visio, Access. I want a MS slate/laptop, that can do all that stuff, be usable using my fingers when that is appropriate....and here is the kicker...weighs 1.5/2 lbs and lasts 10 hours +. Oh, and I want an active stylus. The ones for Android/iOS serve only to keep finger oils of the screen. There is no precision involved.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012 8:30 PM
  • Sure, Alt-Tab works on a desktop, but most tablets don't come with a physical keyboard.

    On the Asus EEE they have a key that is dedicated to slipping through programs. Unfortunately at this time the Windows 8 CTP doesn't recognize it. :-(
    Joel Ivory Johnson | http://www.j2i.net | Windows Phone Developer MVP
    It takes all the running you can do to stay in one place.If you want to get somewhere else,you must try to run at least twice as fast as that.

    Yea, I have a very nice hardware keyboard button on my HP Slate 500, that the preview doesn't support too. Would be helpful in the start screen, since you can't get a keyboard up without accessing charms and search. HP should really drop a driver file for Win8 preview for the slate, since they are still kinda building them. It is a nice showcase for the concept, and HPs capability. It really is a nice little piece of hardware, though a little underpowered. I hear the Slate 2 is better, but I'm waiting for the production Samsung I think ;)
    Sunday, January 22, 2012 8:36 PM
  • I have a very nice hardware keyboard button on my HP Slate 500, that the preview doesn't support too.

    @ Sven


    Have you tried using W7 Compatibility mode with the HP QL  software?   There is a separate thread about someone trying that.  Apparently at least one of the buttons can be made to do something in W8, so it may just be a matter of figuring out how that works and then making it do something else that you would prefer to have it do.

    Would be helpful in the start screen, since you can't get a keyboard up without accessing charms and search.

    My impression with Touch is that it would be more helpful having a button which dismissed the Touch keyboard, since it seems to pop up out of place too often.   YMMV.   FWIW, what I also do is use the Desktop's OSK.exe app instead of the (functionally deficient IMO) Tablet PC Touch Keyboard now in W8.  In fact, I start it via Run... but that could be made to come up automatically too or another alternative would be is tap on the Start Screen's Desktop tile, then tap on a pinned Taskbar icon for the OSK.   I just have the Run... icon pinned that way.

     

    Good luck

    Robert
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    Sunday, January 22, 2012 9:07 PM