MARCH 2012: Microsoft took two giants leaps forward on leap day, February 29: it released its Windows 8 Consumer Preview and opened its new Windows Store for mobile apps. (As you might expect, Leapfrog thinks their leap day timing is impeccable.)
One million people downloaded the preview in the first day alone, making them the first to experience its new, sleek interface called Metro that was first developed for Windows Phone 7. The new look replaces Microsoft’s familiar icons with big tiles, which is a total departure from past interfaces — there’s not even a Start Button anymore.
This is further proof that the mobile computing experience is not only here to stay, it’s moved to the desktop. Here’s how to check out the new interface and give it a test drive.
Here’s how to check out the new interface and give it a test drive.
PC World reports on “the good, the bad and the ugly”, PC Advisor is “delighted with the Metro-style,” and The Verge and CNET offer detailed reviews. If you have the right hardware and want to jump right in, you can download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview yourself. But you probably want to read the caveats first. It’s still in the trial period, so there are definitely bugs to be worked out.
The official Windows 8 launch could still be a year away. Once it gets here, if you want to stick with the traditional Windows interface and not use Metro just yet, you can.
To access the new Windows Store, an app website similar to Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market, you need to use the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Like the App Store (but unlike the Android Market), all apps have gone through an approval and certification process, which gives consumers peace of mind. All apps are also free right now and will be until the official release of Windows 8. Don’t be fooled by the Free and Buy buttons you see — both options download the app for free.
Microsoft isn’t the only one leaping ahead with a desktop mobile experience. Word has it that Apple’s new computer operating system, Mountain Lion, to be heavily influenced by its mobile operating system, iOS.