October 31, 2012, 1:30 PM — Windows 8 is here. In form and functionality, the new flagship operating system is the most dramatic makeover of Windows since its inception. Windows 8 was developed from the ground up with a touch-enabled interface that works best when tapped and swiped. Under the hood, the same old Windows is still present, but the Modern UI and the Windows Store shift the focus to mobile.
A survey conducted by the tech support services provider iYogi found that one-third of small businesses are considering switching to Windows 8. iYogi also learned that 38% of the respondents currently using iPads for business are exploring Windows 8 tablet options.
The launch of Windows 8 will bring an avalanche of new hardware, too. A number of diverse models have already become available, including traditional desktops and laptops, all-in-one touchscreen PCs, Ultrabooks (with and without touchscreens), tablets, and hybrid tablet/ultraportable products. For some small businesses, the options can be confusing and overwhelming.
Is it time to invest in new PC hardware for your company? Regardless of whether you wish to move to Windows 8 right now, it makes sense to begin purchasing hardware that's at least Windows 8 compatible.
Look for the following features and capabilities in any new hardware you buy for your business, so that you can get the most out of Windows 8 when the time comes to install the OS on legacy machines.
1. Touch support
Microsoft built Windows 8 with touch in mind. The Modern UI (formerly known as Metro) is a colorful collection of tiles and apps designed to be tapped and swiped. You can interact with Windows 8 using a traditional keyboard and mouse, but that isn't ideal. Any new hardware you buy should support ten-point multitouch gesture control if you want to use Windows 8 to its fullest potential.
That said, some people find using touchscreens on notebooks and desktop displays to be awkward and unnatural. If you fall in this camp, a laptop with a touchpad, or a touchpad peripheral combined with a desktop or laptop, will allow you to interact with Windows 8 as intended.