Before we delve into Microsoft’s latest Operating System, let’s refresh a thing or two about Personal Computing.
In modern Personal Computers basically consist of:
– Central Processing Unit (microprocessor being the most important part)
– Output device (usually monitor, lcd, led)
– Input device (touchscreen, keyboard, mouse)
Operating System is software that manages the hardware and provides common services to the application.
The most common OS known in the world:
– Windows family (runs on CISC type processors)
– Mac family (OSX, iOS, runs on RISC type processors)
– Linux family (Android, Meego, runs on various type processors)
CISC type processors are: Motorola 68K and Intel x86 series
RISC type processors are: SPARC, PowerPC, ARM
Microsoft tries to change the game
Apple enjoys lucrative profit by providing OS and hardware tailored specifically for their OS. If you happen to use OSX and iOS you might have experienced the convergence between those two, the similarities of the interface. That was intentional because at the end OSX and iOS will merge into one OS that could serve Macbook, iPad, etc.
Google tries to enter the market with Chrome OS (Web Based Operating System). The idea of running your applications through web browser (therefore you don’t have to maintain them, just use them) is VERY intriguing BUT having your personal/work files in the cloud IS NOT AT ALL. That’s why this idea is not appeal to the masses, although it gives some traction for the birth of “computer for everybody” campaign in third world countries.
At first Google launch Android OS for mobile devices (tablets, smartphones). Currently it could run on ARM (Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Nvidia) and Marvel processors with 256Mb – 2Gb of memory with various display resolutions.
Providing support for (Android) OS that runs on unlimited variations between processors, display, memory, proved to be very hard if not impossible. Take a look at Microsoft with Windows (although Win 7 has done a tremendous job compared to Win XP/Vista). That’s why Google tries to lead by launching its Nexus series as a benchmarks of how Android tablets should be.
Whether you are an Apple (iOS or OSX) or Windows user you would have an idea how ‘unreliable’ windows is OR how ‘reliable’ OSX and iOS are. Provide support for OS designed specifically for some set of hardware also done by the same company IS much easier. With added bonus that average user will see your product as ‘reliable’, ‘easy to use’ AND you could have a solid business model by providing TOTAL service to your customer. Means (most of the time) for every additional function, you have to pay, choices are limited BUT those additional functions WILL guarantee to work.
Why I’m not so surprised if Windows 8 will be the last Microsoft OS in your custom built PC
However should Microsoft decide to play it like Google. Simply just be a leader to sell specialized OS with specially designed hardware while at the same time allowed others to sell your OS with their own hardware.
Therefore Microsoft could foster a tried and true way that has been worked for them all these years while simultaneously offer something like Apple does. It’s not simply to gain more profit in direct sense.
Let’s take a look at what Microsoft face today, in 80s and 90s computer hardly mobile, with very limited computing power, if you want to do some serious work, you have to do it in (desktop) computer. Smartphone was not powerful and practice enough even just to edit/create office documents. But porting your OS into a much smaller device just doesn’t cut it.
And it was in Win 95 era where ‘stability’ is not synonym with Microsoft product.
It was…. err desktop centric, with mobile devices as compliments
Back then (usually) you’ve got to have a desktop pc first, before you spend more on gadgets (there was no facebook and twitter, only geeks need the internet). Computer was for computing only.
Mobile devices are tablets, phone-tablets, smartphones, netbook, ultrabook. Desktop PC is shrinking into All-In-One PC, Home Theatre PC and Standalone Multi Media Player.
Computer means any device with comfortable fixed/removable keyboard; mobile devices become more important than ever because everybody HAVE to stay connected.
PDA (Palm, Pocket PC) and Smartphone (Nokia in 1990s) have converged into Smartphone today (Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy) and Phablet (Samsung Galaxy Note, Dell Streak) as a niche. Asus boldly merged them even further with netbook resulting Asus Transformer Prime, my opinion it will be as niche as Phablet.
There will be only two big categories in computer world:
- Everyday computing (browsing, manipulate office documents)
- Special needs (servers, gamers, programmers)
And that’s why Microsoft will offer its newest Windows version with two flavors, Windows 8 (x86 and x64 including Pro version) and Windows 8 RT.
Once again Microsoft has to prove that their OS is easy enough to operate (and maintain) combined with their choice of hardware. In 90s IBM has made such attempt (and fail for so many reasons) with their PS/2 hardware and OS/2 Operating System. IBM OS/2 Warp was a superb OS from technical side and PS/2 computers filled with technological superiority, but it fail nonetheless.
Microsoft has proven themselves that they able to master their own beast, by using their rock-solid NT 4.0 kernel as the basis of Windows XP onward, gaining momentum to be seen as stable and dependable OS. Will they excel combining the hardware and software? That is the question which will be revealed through time.