Pinoy developers get a preview of Windows 8

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By Alexander Villafania

MANDALUYONG CITY, METRO MANILA – The consumer preview version of Windows 8 is already making its rounds among techies who are testing out how the new operating system from Microsoft would fare in their machines.

So far, most reviews of the very early build of Windows 8 have been fairly positive, citing an all new graphical user interface (GUI) with its full touch screen capabilities, fast boot up, online synchronization with Microsoft’s online services, particularly Xbox 360 and Windows Live.

Thus, in a recent programming conference in the Philippines, Microsoft showcased Windows 8 installed in the 12-inch Asus EP121 tablet PC. The device was shown to highlight Window’s compatibility with certain tablet PC models as well as entice developers to create Windows 8 applications.

The Asus EP121 was officially launched abroad in early 2011 but is yet to come to the Philippines. Despite being a tablet, it packs as much power as a laptop; it is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor with up to 4 gigabyte memory and an internal storage of 32 Gb.

The Asus tablet also comes installed with a 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium operating system. It’s essentially a laptop without the keyboard. This explains the device’s high tag price at over P50,000, making it the most expensive tablet PC around.

Despite being a year old, the Asus EP121 seems to run Windows 8 fairly well. One of the best features of the Windows 8 on a tablet is the use of “Metro-style” tiles for all installed applications.

While similar to how Android and iOS does it, Windows 8 has almost the same look and feel as the GUI of the Windows Phone operating system; there is no Start button and all essential applications can be highlighted by simply pulling on the edge of the screen to show the hidden task manager menu.

However, traditional PC users can go back to the PC desktop look by clicking on the desktop icon.

The boot up time for Windows 8 on the Asus EP121 is approximately five seconds, three times as fast as Windows 7. Of course, this is still dependent on the amount of applications installed on the device as well as the hardware specifications that allow for faster boot times.

External PC peripherals seem to be fully supported on both the Windows 8 preview and the Asus EP121. Wired and wireless mouse and keyboards work as well as Bluetooth enabled devices.

No question that Windows 8 will work on notebooks and desktop computers but at this point, it’s still anybody’s guess whether Windows 8 would have a place against tablet PCs, which is already dominated by Android and iOS.

At least for now, Microsoft has essentially made its presence known in the tablet PC space.

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