The sheer volume of excitement about Windows 8 has taken me quite by surprise with more leaks than we ever saw with Vista or Windows 7 in the same time-frame. The excitement and hype easily matches that of Google's Chrome OS in the same period of its development, even though when the operating system finally arrives it will undoubtedly be a very hard sell to businesses and the general public.
So why do I have this bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that whatever Microsoft deliver next year won't be good enough? Microsoft tout the features of Windows 7, its stability and reliability almost to excess. Certainly it's the most stable, reliable and dependable operating system the company has ever produced.
Windows 8, when it finally arrives, will no doubt be even more reliable, stable and dependable than even Windows 7 is capable of being. Then there's been all the tablet talk in the last year or so. Google rushed a new version of its Android OS out of the door, Steve Ballmer has said that the next version of Windows will be tablet friendly and the world is looking forward to all that.
If we look at the, now mature, smartphone market though what do we see? Probably the biggest and most popular smartphone OS out there at the moment, Google's Android, is still based around a desktop with widgets on it. Indeed its handsets still come with a cursor you can move around. This is a good example I feel that no matter how good this particular smartphone OS might be, its still a step behind its users.
If you look back historically for instance to the days of MS DOS and Windows 1. By the time Windows and Mac OS were first released, users had already been clamoring for a GUI OS with alternatives such as DesqView and GEM rising to fill the temporary gap. With almost every OS the world has seen it's been a step behind its users.
But surely this is the problem, as new technology comes along we find more and more innovative uses for it and so the technology keeps getting left behind. Operating systems suffer from this problem even more. Look at Windows. The current version is leagues behind where its users want it to be. Only now are Microsoft taking features such as tablet functionality and System on a Chip seriously. All the companies responsible for hardware and operating systems are staying one step behind their users. There's one exception to this however and that's Apple.
Apple are the only technology company that's being proactive and trying to anticipate what its users will want to do in the coming years. It's this forward-thinking attitude that have put the company firmly in the lead, and that will keep it there until anybody else is brave enough to catch up. Nintendo and Microsoft have both achieved this to a lesser degree in recent years with innovative new ways to interact with their games consoles. These innovations aside though there's very little that's staying ahead of the users of modern technology.
So where does this leave any OS? If you look at any of the desktop operating systems, OS X, GNU/Linux and Windows, they're all currently playing catch up with their users. Now smartphone and tablet operating systems are doing the same with Google and Microsoft rushing to finish products they should really have brought to market a couple of years ago.
That was the time when people wanted these features, right back at the beginning. Unfortunately unless and until the big technology and software companies realise that the consumer is now ahead of them, no operating system will ever be good enough.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.