Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:46 AM
I've been playing around with various incarnations of Windows 8 (and its sibling Windows RT) for a bit now on a mixture of touch and non-touch screen devices.
The experience of using the "Modern Windows 8 Store Apps (formerly Metro Design Language") on a screen that supports multiple touch points is actually pretty good. But it becomes less easy to use once you switch over to a pointing device that supports only a single-point, like a digitizing tablet, trackpad, TrackPoint, mouse and so forth.
Once you get over to the Desktop, though, it's largely business as usual (at least on Windows 8, Windows RT is different), and that's where I spend most of my time right now. Once I click on the Desktop tile, or press Winkey+D to bring up the Desktop, that's where I am for the rest of the computing session.
Right now, I still prefer Windows 7 but I am learning how to work with Windows 8 so that I can get things done in there as fluidly as I can. A large part of that is just memorizing all the new Windows Key combinations and then using them to build memory muscle. Right after I installed Windows 8, I created a little faux Start Menu on the Toolbar to kind of act as a bridge. Obviously, not the same as the full-fledged Start Menu, but it helped. There's also a plethora of third-party Start Menu replacements (Start8, StartIsBack, Classic Shell and so forth) which emulate the Start Menu from Windows 7 with varying degrees of success, including bringing you to the Desktop automatically.
A couple of days ago, I actually went and installed a copy of StartIsBack (arguably the closest experience to Windows 7's Start Menu) and do you know what I found? I really have not been using it nearly as much as I thought I would. All the programs I frequently run I launch via keyboard. I will probably remove both it and my Toolbar in a bit, but right now I just find it a little amusing to see them--plus the Quick Launch toolbar, I recreated that as well--under Windows 8.
I suspect in time that Microsoft is going to have some success with the tablet paradigm, but I think it's going to just be a gradual progression as hardware costs come down and, of course, software for the interface arrives that people really want to use, both at home and at work.