Windows 8 Metro System Explained
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People in equal numbers are lamenting the death of the ‘Start Menu’ and cheering the arrival of Metro User Interface in Windows 8 beta. The change is a dramatic one but why is Microsoft making it and what does it mean for the computer?
Those of you who have tried the free Windows 8 download or used a Windows Phone will know what Metro User Interface is. It is basically as system of tiles that act as a window into everything you could possibly want. These tiles will update live from the Internet so you will always be able to view the latest item of interest to yourself from your dashboard.
In addition to this, all of your favourite Apps will be listed ready for immediate use. The significance of this is a high level of customisation to create a system which will enable you easy access into the corners of the internet and your computer that interest you.
To understand the move to Metro User Interface and its meaning for computing we first need to consider two elements: mobility and compatibility.
The mobility of the device, whether it is a laptop or a phone, is something that has come to the forefront of technology in recent years. Windows has historically suffered from this shift because their high demanding processes require a large battery and a high level of power. What Windows 8 does is take the OS back a few steps and simplify all of the processes. By tailoring the OS to run on ARM based chips, Microsoft has enabled the system to become far more mobile and transportable because it will require less power and less processes.
The compatibility of the device is another huge element of the changes. The system is designed to run across multiple systems and platforms. The Windows 8 OS will in fact run on phones, tablets, PCs and even the Xbox. This move toward cross-compatibility is one which will quickly enable a shift towards Microsoft as a mobile market player. By connecting all of the Microsoft products, they will enable users to be ever surrounded by the systems so that they are always available as the first choice.
One key element of this availability is the App called SkyDrive. SkyDrive acts as a portal into a cloud computing area that will store all files on any device. Significantly SkyDrive will also store all of the Apps bought by a user. What this means is that a user can log into SkyDrive on any Windows 8 computer and immediately access what is essentially their home or work computer. They will be able to run programs that are not installed on a device and they will necessarily be able to achieve a far greater level of compatibility.
Windows 8 is set to change the ways in which we compute and a lot of this will happen through the Metro User Interface. This system will provide a window into our online worlds that makes everything more connected. For those die-hard ‘Start Menu’ fans there will be an option to disable Metro completely but this move is a step towards touch friendly tile-based setups and away from the mouse and keyboard.