Well, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is upon us and every nerd and their Aibo (robot dog, get it) has been trying it out and sharing their thoughts with the world. Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity being one to try things as soon as they become available so I thought I’d share my setup experience and some shots of notable apps.
For the exercise, I used Oracle VM VirtualBox and used the instructions I wrote up for creating a new virtual machine for Windows 8. If you also need a hand kicking off the installation you can read this article within the context of the Consumer Preview (not the Developer Preview).
So, there are some changes in the setup screens which I’ll quickly run throw here:
First up the personalisation screen gets an update allowing you to select from one of nine colours for the background colour. Changes are immediately reflected upon making a selection to give you an idea of how it will look.
The first screen for settings has remained pretty much the same apart from text spacing. From this point, I chose to customise the settings so you’ll see those screens next which have changed a bit from the Developer Preview.
This screen didn’t appear in the Developer Preview as it does now in the Consumer preview.
Nothing new here.
This screen has changed a bit to cover sharing information and location with apps. From here, we now proceed to setup the sign in credentials for the computer.
In contrast to the Developer Preview, you can now login using your Windows Live account instead of having a standard local username and password isolated to a given device. Using a Windows Live account allows you to sync settings across your Windows 8 devices and unify access to content in SkyDrive, Zune, Windows Store and Xbox Live. This tight integration will give Apple and its iTunes and App Stores a run for their money.
For whatever reason, I couldn’t connect my Windows Live account to my local account so I had to do it the old school way. However, you can always convert a local account to use a Windows Live account later on.
Sit and twiddle your thumbs for a little bit…
… and a little bit more…
Finally, we’re at the Windows Start screen!
Using a keyboard and mouse is simple enough through use of the arrow keys, page up / page down or the scroll wheel on the mouse. To open an app, just hit Enter once selected or left click on it.
Now, the Start screen does look a little bland but will start coming to life once you have attached your Windows Live account to your login and link up some other accounts.
As you can see, the calendar, mail and weather tiles have now updated as well as the Windows Store tile. This allows you to see at a glance what is going on without having to hop in and out of apps all the time.
Anyway, here’s a look at some of the major apps that come with Windows 8.
Finally, the traditional Windows desktop still lurks in the background for those that are curious.
Plus, there is a desktop version of Internet Explorer 10 available if you require it.
I reckon this is shaping up to be a quality tablet OS upon first impressions enough to perhaps sway me from purchasing an Android tablet to replace my iPad. As always, time will tell how things will go but I reckon Apple and its iPad could be in trouble.