Windows 8: Way too early for the hype

Windows 8 is an impressive move for Microsoft, but with its launch a year away it seems awfully early to be talking it up

Windows 8 looks awesome! I watched the keynote -- a couple times actually. I am impressed. There are too many cool, "gee whiz" features and capabilities to even cover in a single post. Even with all that, though, I am having trouble getting caught up in the breathless excitement of it all.

Why? Well, two reasons really. First -- it is just way too early, and second -- I've been burned before.

As slick as Windows 8 seems in the keynote, it is difficult to tell how that translates to the real world -- at least for me. The attendees who are receiving the Samsung demo tablet with Windows 8, and the press who are actually on site to get some hands-on time are obviously in a better position than I to judge just how capable Windows 8 is, and how much is simply smoke and mirrors.

What Microsoft unveiled this week is not even a beta version yet. It is a developer preview. We are probably about a year away from seeing a final version of Windows 8 hit the street and a lot can -- and will -- change in a year. I am not suggesting that Microsoft Windows could be irrelevant a year from now, but technology is rapidly evolving and somewhat unpredictable at times. What seems like a cool feature today could very well be obsolete or irrelevant a year from now.

Then there's the fact that things always look good when being unveiled by the vendor. That's because what is shown at the presentation is more a production than a demonstration. It is rehearsed and carefully orchestrated to focus on strengths and ignore any weaknesses.

There is more to a successful Windows than Windows itself, and much of it is largely outside of Microsoft's control. Microsoft can coordinate efforts, but it is up to the hardware and peripheral vendors, and many other third-party entities to fill in the gaps of the Windows ecosystem that make the whole thing work together. When it works, you get Windows 7. When it doesn't, you get Windows Vista.

Maybe I am just jaded or burned out. I can't even imagine how overwhelmed you must feel with every journalist, blogger, pundit, and analyst weighing in with their proverbial "two cents" about why Windows 8 is the second coming of Microsoft, or why Windows 8 is nothing but a train wreck, or giving Microsoft unsolicited advice on what they need to do to make Windows 8 a success.

A year is a long time to predict and speculate, though. I was excited about iOS 5 when Apple unveiled it too. It's only been three months, and I am already tired of hearing about it. Either release it or shut up already.

Don't get me wrong. I love Windows -- especially Windows 7. I downloaded Windows 8 yesterday like everyone else. I will use the various pre-release builds of Windows 8, and will surely have Windows 8 as soon as it is officially available. I will play with it and share my opinion of it with you like my tech writer colleagues.

I will do my best to keep my analysis -- both positive and negative -- in perspective, though. Let's judge Windows 8 when it is really Windows 8. In the meantime, take it all with a grain of salt.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)

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