I’ve been using Windows 8 for almost two weeks now. And, all-in-all, I really like it. The major advice I would give to anyone trying out Windows 8, is to not try and “convert” between Windows 7 and Windows 8.
What I mean, is don’t think in terms of, “… if I were using Windows 7, then I would do x“, and “… now, under Windows 8, I do y“. This will only serve to frustrate and confuse. Instead, think of Windows 8 as being something brand new, that you have to learn from the beginning.
But, that’s not the point of this blog post.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have “bought” a number of Windows 8 apps, off the Windows 8 Store. All of them have been free. They have included an instant messaging app, an online banking app for my bank, and the Windows 8 app for my favorite note taking tool – Evernote.
Here is where things unravel.
Evernote is an awesome tool, and I have created nearly 1,100 notes in it over the course of several years. So, when I saw a specific app for Windows 8, I was very excited.
However, what the Windows 8 app does, is simply to make a Windows 8 Modern UI client for Evernote. The client is not particularly useful. It allows me to search, it allows me to create a note. It allows me to see my notes in a number of predefined ways. But it does not offer me extensive editing capabilities. Simple things such as adding a horizontal line, bullet points and bold/italics formatting are not available. Note: it isn’t that it was difficult to get to, it just doesn’t exist in the Windows 8 app.
It becomes somewhat deceiving in that, for Windows 8, I actually need both the traditional Windows Evernote app plus the Windows 8 app.
This has led me to look at Microsoft’s OneNote. (Note: if it wasn’t for the fact that when I started looking at note taking applications, I would have probably chosen OneNote. However, at that time I was using a Mac, a Windows laptop and a Linux desktop on a regular basis, and only Evernote had the cross platform capabilities).
The OneNote Windows 8 app isn’t anything special. It is simply an icon to get to the standard OneNote app. Frankly, I don’t think I need anything else. Just get me to the app quickly, which it does.
But one application shouldn’t be the be-all-and-end-all. However, there was another critical app. An even more critical app – email!
Google has decided not to create a Windows 8 GMail app. So, instead, I am using both Gmail through the Chrome browser (which, by the way, works beautifully in Windows 8 mode), and the Windows 8 Mail app. The only problem with the Windows 8 Mail app (and really it isn’t a Mail app issue), is that I don’t have access to all my fancy Gmail functions that I get under Chrome. But, again, the Mail app is quick and convenient.
What i found myself doing however, was looking at Outlook again. I haven’t used Outlook for nearly 6 years. Why? Because my previous employer used Lotus Notes! So, within the course of 48 hours, I started using Outlook, and I am serious contemplating converting from Evernote to OneNote, all because it works seamlessly under Windows 8.
For some readers, you’ll be glad to know, I have decided not to make the conversion … yet! But that got me thinking, is Windows 8 making me more Microsoft-centric? These are the same emotional responses I have when it comes to Android. I am an Android man through and through. I have an Android smartphone, a 7″ Android tablet, a 10″ Android tablet, and anything else I can Androidize, I would.
In the end, it seems that Microsoft may be a lot smarter than many would make them out to be with the massive GUI changes that they have implemented with Windows 8. Think about this, despite great protestations, the enterprise world, and even the consumer world have adopted Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows 7.
But just because there are uproars over change (not necessarily the changes, per se, but just change in general), Microsoft is likely to come out ahead. All the quantitative market research numbers that suggest Windows 8 adoption isn’t as far along as the researchers anticipated may simply mean that the models the researchers used were a little aggressive, and frankly, did not take into account the time necessary for users to evolve to Windows 8.
The bottom line is simple. No user likes change. However, Windows 8 has every opportunity to make users more productive, and provides them with a consistent experience between desktops/laptops, tablets and smartphones. Just this simple feature alone, that of consistency across devices, will eventually make Windows 8 accepted and successful.