A big part of the buzz about the Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 software is its ability to run on multiple platforms. The software is designed to work equally well on tablets and desktop/laptop PCs, providing a unified experience across multiple devices. This is due primarily to the new Metro user interface, a paned interface that displays apps on tablet screens, and on the desktop version’s Start screen (which replaces the good old Start Menu). Microsoft has been playing up Metro for some time, and it definitely looks nice.
Unfortunately, a Windows 8 tablet got a nasty case of stage fright earlier this week and froze up on stage during a keynote presentation by Microsoft’s ERP head, Kiril Tatarinov. According to The Register, Tatarinov was giving a keynote presentation at the Convergence conference in Houston. When Tatarinov and Fred Studer, another Microsoft exec, tried to show off the Metro UI on a tablet, the tablet locked up. It remained completely unresponsive to attempts to get it going again, and Tatarinov and Studer had to switch to a second tablet they had on stage with them in order to proceed with their demonstration.
Apple fanboy that I am, I can’t help but feel the tiniest bit of shadenfreude over a story like this. Nevertheless, at this stage of development a gaffe like this is forgivable. Windows 8 is not due to be released for several more months yet (a release date has not been announced, though late summer or early autumn is likely), nor have there been any definitive announcements as to when we will start seeing Windows 8 tablets. All in all, Windows 8 looks like a solid entry into Microsoft’s lineup, and assuming the kinks can be worked out of its transition to tablets, it stands to make a sizable splash in the tablet market, as well.