Noble Edward, senior architect at mobile CRM applications builder Consona, says he will be talking to his employers about supporting Windows tablets. "I develop applications for Android and iPhone, and in our company, we never even included Windows Phone as part of the target," Edward says.
Windows 8's emphasis on touch-based interactions impressed Brendan Forster, a developer at development firm Readify: "I love that they said they are putting touch first."
Developer Chris DiPierro, director of software development at data collection services provider Mi-Co, agrees. Windows 8 presents "an incredible opportunity for us," DiPierro says, citing strong interest among Mi-Co customers for software targeted at the tablet form factor. "Our response thus far has been to do Web applications, but there are inherent limitations you get out of that," such as reliance on HTML5 local storage, he says. "[With Windows 8] I feel like we can port a lot of what we already have -- native .Net apps -- over to this."
DiPierro's coworker David Nakamura, director of quality assurance, likes the device span of Windows 8. "What's really neat about Windows 8 is it goes from high-end desktop machines all the way down to smaller-size tablets and slates," Nakamura says.
Analysts also chimed in on the convergence theme. "With this release, Microsoft is taking the first steps to converge the mobile world and the PC world," says Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC. "Early indications are that Windows 8 will talk browser applications natively along with other programming models, and so [the OS] promises to bring many walks of developers under one umbrella. Converging mobile and PC developer ecosystems is what Microsoft has to do to thrive in the post-PC era."
Windows 8 reality checkBut without any hands-on experience with the operating system, Windows 8 enthusiasm can only go so far. "I'll have to wait until I actually get to play with the software, the devices, and see what the experience [is like], but in theory, it looks pretty good," says HP's Barnett.
For some, even the much-needed UI makeover has room for improvement. Consona's Edward, while otherwise enthusiastic about Windows 8, found the UI layer inferior to that of Android and iOS.
Readify's Forster questioned how Windows 8 would affect existing applications. But IDC's Hilwa liked the OS's ability to accommodate Silverlight applications. "The last thing that impressed me is that you can take Silverlight apps and, with minor tweaks, get them to work with the Metro UI and also to make them available to Windows Phone," Hilwa says. "Allowing developers to leverage their code across phones and tablets will be a tremendous boost to both Microsoft's phone and PC platform."