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Got an Apple iPad at Home? Get Ready for Windows 8!

Sep 19, 2011 3:45 PM, by Jason Bovberg

Surprising innovation from Microsoft changes the tablet-computing market.

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And that puts the iPad directly in Microsoft’s sights. It’s one thing for the iPad to obliterate its tablet competition—such as it was and is—but it’s quite another to begin to threaten the PC. See, now you’ve just awakened a sleeping giant. And Microsoft really had been sleeping until now. In January 2011, Paul Thurrott wrote that “a year after Ballmer and company promised a strong response to the iPad and explicitly noted it would do to the tablet market what it previously did with netbooks—come from behind for the win—Microsoft's tablet strategy is still in shambles.” But today—just days after the critically acclaimed developer preview of Windows 8—it actually seems as if Microsoft’s “come from behind and win” strategy has some merit.

Last week, Microsoft demonstrated an early version of its upcoming OS, Windows 8, on a prototype Samsung tablet. The prototype had an 11.6in. screen, front and rear cameras, a 1.6GHz processor, a USB port, a microSD slot, and a SIM-card slot. It also boasted HDMI and Ethernet ports and a Bluetooth keyboard. Immediately, it’s a more impressive piece of hardware, with far more tech options than the iPad. But where the device really wowed was the software. Windows 8 is poised to be a game-changer.

I feel like I’ve already had an extended sneak preview of the new Windows 8 interface because I recently moved from Apple iOS to Windows Phone 7. I made the switch because I craved the integration/synchronization potential of the Windows Phone 7 interface with my home systems, which are Windows-based. I now have seamless integration with Exchange/Outlook, Office, and even Xbox. The game synchronization is particularly cool, letting me fluidly access all my gamer-profile information on my phone. Facebook integration is also spectacular. This is a terrific, underrated smartphone.

And now I’m suddenly feeling a similar sense of excitement about the same kind of UI in the home. Windows 8 has really taken the Windows Phone 7 Metro-style live tiles and hubs functionalities to the next level. It’s really a beautiful interface—intuitive, colorful, and responsive. It offers fabulous opportunities for customization and personalization, letting you to pin people, web pages, RSS feeds, and more alongside your apps. And from what I’ve seen, Windows 8 is also more colorful, even more intelligently designed, and more flexible than its phone counterpart.

Microsoft holds a market share of 90 percent for desktop OS. And now Windows 8 marks the OS’s first concentrated attack in the tablet arena—a tablet arena that, thanks to the accomplishments of the iPad, is encompassing more than just multimedia. What I’m saying is that in a world dominated by Windows households, Windows 8 holds a ton of promise for both traditional PCs and tablets. And with my Windows Phone in hand, I already know it’s compelling and innovative. And surprise—it’s from Microsoft!

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