Windows Phone has enjoyed marginal success in 2011 – especially compared to Android and iOS. However, recent signs have suggested the mobile phone platform is slowly gaining a wider audience, and even becoming a favorite among developers thanks to its slick design and quick, user friendly experience.
Now, with its upcoming Windows 8 desktop software, Microsoft is hoping to capture the same look and feel of its mobile OS and bring it to traditional PCs. But can a largely touch-focused UI make a successful desktop debut? According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) prediction document, Microsoft’s “Windows 8 will launch with split success.”
Although IDC doesn’t expect Windows 8 to hit until August 2012, the analysts believe interest from Windows 7 users will be inconsequential. “Windows 8 will be largely irrelevant to the users of traditional PCs, and we expect effectively no upgrade activity from Windows 7 to Windows 8 in that form factor,” according to IDC’s prediction document.
The reason? Industry watchers are skeptical the tiled interface of Metro won’t translate well for users with a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft has previously said the usability will be a non-issue. However, following a Windows 8 developer preview in September, users began questioning whether Metro can make for an intuitive experience on PCs.
In addition, many enterprise users are predicted to be either in the process, or have just finished completing their Windows 7 migrations, meaning another upgrade may be more trouble than it’s worth when Windows 8 finally hits. One way Microsoft hopes to lure users to upgrade is by introducing its own app store similar to what’s available on the Mac. An announcement is supposedly coming Tuesday that will see Microsoft reveal a built-in software marketplace integrated with Windows 8. According to AllThingsD, “the store will be the exclusive way for developers to distribute new-style Windows 8 apps … The store will support free and paid apps, as well as trial versions and in-app payments.”
Unfortunately, IDC is singing the same tune when it comes to Windows 8 tablets, saying the Redmond-based company has some major challenges ahead of it wants to compete against a company like Apple. There’s no doubting the great style and design behind Microsoft’s fledgeling Metro UI. It will just be a matter of the company integrating a well developed experience on multiple platforms.