On June 20th Microsoft unveiled the new Windows 8 user interface to the world during AllthingsD, D9 Conference. It also simultaneously released a four minute video entitled “Building Windows 8, Video #1″ which featured Jensen Harris, Director of PM, Windows User Experience showcasing some of the “cool features” that Windows 8 has to offer. Shortly after the D9 conference Microsoft also started a technical demonstration in Taiwan at Computex 2011 for hardware partners featuring Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Windows Planning, Hardware and PC Ecosystem, Mike Angiulo.
The big surprise from these presentations from the folks in Redmond was that this new UI wasn’t just for slates and tablets, but was also designed to be the UI for netbooks, laptops, desktops and the Xbox 360. Couple that with the transformation in Windows Phone and Microsoft websites that is already in full swing and our collective eyes where opened to Microsoft’s grand scheme of unifying it’s catalog of offerings under the Metro look and feel. It was a much broader scope for their unification plans than most had anticipated and clearly demonstrated that Microsoft wants the “Metro Mojo” spread far and wide.
The excitement is palpable, forums and viewer comments are exploding all around the globe. Now we hear there is also rumor that a beta version will be released to developers during the BUILD conference in September with a public RC in January and a final RTM in April. Does this mean we could see Windows 8 on systems much sooner than expected? Will the public availability of a new Windows 8 release candidate download in January create a halo effect for all things that include live tiles?
Now that the dust has settled and the blogosphere has positively reacted, the big question on my mind is will this be another watershed Windows 95 game changer for PC sales and will Windows Phone ride those coat tails all the way to the bank? Steve Balmer has stated, “It’s a huge gamble for Microsoft,” but the ultimate test is can they execute on what appears to be a pretty sound strategy? I don’t know for sure, but I’m betting the answer is yes, and I’m very excited about finding out! What do you think, should Microsoft start adding the zero’s to the Windows Phone sales estimates now, or will the Windows 8 halo be short lived?