On Thursday, Microsoft officially unveiled its latest operating system, Windows 8, and as NY1's Adam Balkin explains, it is a bold, risky redesign for the tech giant.
It appears as if PCs as you know them are about to forever change, thanks to the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.
Gone will be the start menu. Gone will be double-clicking applications to open them. Gone will be just about everything you've grown used to on a Windows PC. Replacing it? Just about everything you've grown used to when operating your smartphone or tablet.
To help make this all happen, dozens of devices with touch screens from just about every big-time manufacturer are launching alongside Windows 8, from desktop PCs to laptops to tablets to the largest new category, called "convertibles."
"Are these new designs PCs? Yes. Are these new designs tablets also? Yes," said Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft. "Some of them flip. Some of them dock. Some of them convert. Some of them attach."
Though it's designed to be swiped and poked, the new operating system will work on current non-touch-screen PCs via your mouse. There is also a pre-loaded app that returns you to the old school way of doing things, if that's what you prefer.
Microsoft has said for years that it wanted to make computers easier to use and many would probably agree that allowing users to just touch what they want to do accomplishes that. However, at this stage, with so many people used to the old way, is making things easier actually making things harder?
"Easier is in the eye of the beholder or user. In some ways, it's easy and intuitive. In other ways it's like, 'wait a minute, that's kinda not the way I'm used to doing it,'" said Ed Baid of USA Today. "There is a learning curve. I've played some with Windows 8. I happen to like it. But there definitely is a learning curve."
Windows 8 is available now as a download via microsoft.com for $40. As for the new, touch-screen devices, Microsoft said pricing on some of those will start at less than $300.