Windows 8?

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I’ve been reading things here and there regarding Microsoft Windows 8, which was released just 2 days ago and have seen some walk-thrus on TV.  Given the relatively cheap (for Microsoft) upgrade price of US$40, I decided I want to try it out.  There’s just one thing that’s stopping me.

Most of the things I’ve read about Windows 8 on the desktop say that it can be an exercise in frustration if you don’t have a touch screen monitor.

PC Advisor (August 2012):

 Windows 8 is really all about having a touchscreen interface – so if you are buying a display for your PC, you’d be well served to get one that is equally adept at running Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Ars Technica:

Learning the list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts will save you more time and trouble than a touchscreen ever will, though this is not something that most normal people will have the time or patience to do.

Moving on from the core operating system, for a certain class of Windows 8 applications, touch support is not just preferable, but necessary.

Venture Beat:

So how will it work on your desktop when it lands on Oct. 26?  Based on my tests, not very well. In fact, if you’re still using a desktop PC, you’re probably going to dislike Windows 8. With Windows 8, Microsoft favors tablets, touchscreens, and laptops with modern touchpads. It works very well for these kinds of computers. Traditional desktops with a keyboard and mouse, on the other hand, have been left in the dust.

So if it’s not quite unanimous, it seem that a touch screen would be helpful.  I’ve been thinking about upgrading to a 27 inch monitor so it makes sense that I should get one that would be Win8 ready.

One further tip, also from PC Advisor:

If you’re going to choose a monitor now that you hope to later use with Windows 8, one important thing to watch out for is the design of the bezel. Because Windows 8 makes use of gestures, which require you to swipe your finger inwards from off the edge of the screen toward the centre, you’ll find that displays with raised bezels usually make it very difficult to touch the far edge of the screen.

It’s a requirement of Windows 8 certification that the bezel should be flush with the display or incorporate a 20mm border between the edge of the display and the start of the bezel.

I was in Mong Kok yesterday and went to the Mong Kok Computer Centre in search of touch screen monitors.  No one had one and no one had any idea when they would have one.

Which got me thinking about how Apple’s control over both hardware and software means that the two sides of the house are mostly synchronized (though they still have issues fulfilling demand) whereas Microsoft doesn’t seem to have properly timed things with hardware vendors.

A bit more searching today led to me an article on Neowin about two new touch screen monitors from Acer that are certified for Windows 8.  There’s the 23 inch T232HL, US$500, available in the US same day as Win8 release, and the 27 inch T272HL, US$700, available in the US at some point in November.

Okay, fine, zip on over to the Acer web site.  Yep, those monitors are listed there.  Oops, I’m on the U.S. site.  Better change country – oh good, on the country list, there’s “Hong Kong English.”  Click on that link and guess what? The Acer Hong Kong home page is in Traditional Chinese with no option to change language.  Idiots.

Google Translate to the rescue.  Neither the T232HK nor the T272HL are listed on Acer’s Hong Kong site, no “coming soon,” no nothing.

I know this stuff is coming.  And it’s not like I need to upgrade to Windows 8 today or even this week.  And I probably shouldn’t be spending money on a new monitor right now anyway.  It’s just frustrating that “Asia’s World City” gets treated like a second-tier market even by Chinese companies.

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9 thoughts on “Windows 8?

  1. Luke

    A couple of things from me: firstly, I love keyboard shortcuts, I don’t know them well, but I know the ones I need to get me by; maybe, its because my first experience of a computer was one that run on DOS3.1, or maybe its because I am luddite. Secondly, I was always told to have my display an arms length away from my seating position; how the hell am I supposed to pinch in, pinch out and swipe if my screen is an arm’s length away? Maybe we will see a new condition called windows 8 eye strain in a few years?

  2. davethevet

    Im using win 8 on a lenovo tablet and Im starting to quite like, its got a lot of potential. There are a lot of weird bugs though. I just opened chrome on the desktop and then went to reopen it on metro and I got a completely different version of chrome.

    Took ages to get touch and pen working and im still rebooting occasionally to get those to work.

    Are you really sure you want to use a big monitor as a touchscreen? Thats a long way you are going to have to move your arm. There should be some amoled displays out next year as well, they should be bloody marvellous.

    1. Spike Post author

      Dave, doesn’t IE also behave that way – 2 different sets of behavior and inability to pass data depending on if you’re looking at it in classic desktop mode or new desktop mode, almost as if it’s 2 separate apps?

      Anyway, I’m not sure I want to use a big monitor as a touchscreen, no, but I figure I should at least allow myself that option just in case.

  3. davethevet

    I think explorer does communicate across metro and desktop, but i have issues with explorer so ive not used it much.

  4. foamier

    I am buying a new ultrabook and was told I could have Win 8 if I waited a few days. I read about 20 reviews and decided to beat the rush … to get one of the last machines with Win 7.

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