Upgrade to Windows 8, urges Microsoft

2012-08-01 13:01
Microsoft has been advertising the features of Windows 8 as a mobile and desktop operating system. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Microsoft has been advertising the features of Windows 8 as a mobile and desktop operating system. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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VIDEO: Windows 8 look

2012-07-19 08:08

This Lifehacker YouTube video shows how Windows 8 works on desktop computers.WATCH

Johannesburg - Microsoft is out to convince South African computer users to upgrade to its latest operating system.

The company will soon make Windows 8 available in South Africa and has been on a mission to advertise the features of the latest version of the operating system (OS).

"It's all about bringing content to your end user and we worked extremely hard in Windows fundamentals to give this level of responsiveness," Windows 8 engineer Rajeev Nagar told News24.

The usual start button has been replaced with what Microsoft has dubbed the "Start experience" and it allows more functionality for applications and permits a user to access the computer in a variety of ways.

One is able to log in via a user name and password, but also via a Windows Live account or image. The latter is particularly suited to touch devices.


"There are no controls; the content shines through. Typically, we have seen people smile when they log in," said Nagar.

The mobile focused is also evident from the design of a feature that prohibits the computer or tablet from downloading updates while in an environment that will incur costs to the user.

"Windows 8 will never download updates when you are in a metered environment because it doesn't want you to incur costs," Nagar said.

Multiple gestures have been natively built in to the operating system and are particularly suited to tablets and mobile devices.

Microsoft recently announced the launch of its Surface tablet to take on Apple's iPad and the latest OS supports a variety of gestures to access content and to control the system.

The OS also recognises whether multiple gestures are viable on older machines and these have been disabled so as to limit confusion.

"Your Windows 7 shortcuts all exist on Windows 8, and we've added new shortcuts. Not all gestures will be available on all systems. It depends on OEM [original equipment manufacturers]," Nagar said.


Part of Apple's success has been the creation of an ecosystem to support its hardware and Microsoft has been driving development of its online store linked to the new OS.

Typically, developers will earn 70% of the revenue generated by the sales of apps but Microsoft has indicated that if revenue exceeds $25 000, the developer will take an 80% cut.

"There is no market as large for app developers than Windows. We think there's a win-win for everybody," Nagar said.

Apps are also available free on a trial period and can be uninstalled directly from the live tiles on the start screen. The applications can be "snapped" to the left or right edge of the screen, but users cannot customise the size of the window.

The OS also endeavours to conserve battery power in mobile devices by suspending applications when inactive and social network application sharing is built in to Windows 8.

Nagar insisted that the company was intent on building trust with its users.

"As part of engendering trust, users can confidently install apps and just as confidently uninstall them.

"We changed the model so applications are licensed to a user, not a device," he added.


Some News24 users were particularly concerned about the hardware requirements when the new OS was announced.

"The hardware requirements for Windows 8 are identical to those for Windows 7. Windows 8 uses hardware more efficiently than Windows 7," Nagar said.

Microsoft has a potentially huge market in Africa, mainly as more than half the computers still run the Windows XP OS.

The company is holding thumbs that most of these users will upgrade to its latest OS when it launches in SA on 26 October.

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