When is a desktop not a desktop?

Published on: Author: Mike Hall Leave a comment

When it has been Metroed.

I was walking through the Nuclear Medicine department in one of our local hospitals recently. There was a technician sitting in a large cubicle. She had the task of monitoring two MRI machines, and had two large LCD panels in front of her. Both LCDs were running multiple windows. I wondered how she would cope with Windows 8, with everything wanting to run full screen and no task bar for easy access.

Maybe she should ask for a couple of tablets. Think how easy her job would be if she could wander around holding a couple of wireless devices. She could even do it from the hospital cafeteria.

Her work is critical, and she needs to see clearly what the screens are showing. Does Microsoft really believe that a 7” tablet and full use of two thumbs is going to work for her. because that is what Windows 8 is designed to work on.

A few of my clients are families with small children. They don’t own Xboxes because Xboxes tie up TVs, as do PS3s and the game prices are very high.  PC desktops are ideal for kids because they are tough, cheap, and easy for kids to push the pointer around the screen. The parents do stuff like Quick Tax, email, surfing, making posters for school events, general stuff.

Could all of the above be accommodated on a 7” screen running Windows 8, because that is what it is designed to run on.

My older clients want to be able to see what is on a screen, and to be able to easily manipulate stuff on the screen. They also like a photo of their family looking at them. Will the Windows 8 start screen suit them?

Older people often have vision problems and arthritis in their hands. What are the options for attaching a trackball mouse to a tablet? Will there be an accessory like a cookbook stand such that the tablet can be propped up while being used with a trackball or wireless mouse? How will they cope with swiping stuff on a 7” screen because that is what Windows 8 is designed to run on.

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I read in ZDNet that Windows 8 tablets may be a little late coming. If Windows 8 tablets don’t move out too well, and the above people (there are very many of us) have been alienated, what will happen to Windows? Will Microsoft have to write it off and try again as they did with Windows Millennium and Vista? Can Microsoft afford to do that?

Why can’t Windows 8 be a regular desktop operating system for desktops, laptops and netbooks with the option of Metro, and as the full blown pre-installed Windows 8 Metro on everything else? Wouldn’t that be more sense than alienating millions of users?

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