Interesting observations from PaulThurrott, who runs the Super Site for Windows website. He’s made a living out of writing about Microsoft, and clearly loves both the company and it’s software. But he’s not thrilled about Windows 8 and all of the compromises it’s making in order to render it “tablet friendly. Specifically, he’s upset that the translucent Aero graphical elements in the UI are being removed.
Paul reads between the lines of an epic Microsoft blog post about the change and comes to the conclusion that the real reason Aero is being taken out back and shot is because of the need to conserve battery life in tablets.
Aero, with all its glassy, translucent goodness, is bad for battery life. Metro, meanwhile, which is flat, dull, not transparent, and only full screen, is very good for battery life. It’s predictable. There’s no worry that people will run overlapping anything, eating away at power cycles, because you can’t run overlapping anything with Metro: Everything is full screen and app lifecycles are automatically maintained by the system. God, the desktop was so pesky. How didn’t we see this before?
Rest in peace, Aero. I liked you, a lot. Still do. And I’ll miss you. I’m curious why Windows 8 can’t simply include Aero themes in addition to something flatter and duller, especially for those desktop PC-using power users who will primarily use the desktop environment and not care about (let alone need) better battery life. But I’m starting to see more clearly what’s happening here and starting to accept that Windows is growing into something that isn’t so much for me anymore as it is for some mythical tablet user base that may or may not appear in the future.
That brings me back to my central complaint about Windows 8 generally and Metro specifically: This is a neat thing that Microsoft’s building, it really is. But it should have occurred in something outside of Windows. (It should have been just Windows RT, minus the desktop.) Windows 8 isn’t even Windows anymore. It’s a tablet OS that’s been grafted onto Windows like a monstrous Frankenstein experiment.
Do I feel weird about this? Sure. I’m a dinosaur driving a desktop PC that Microsoft doesn’t really care about anymore. Heck, I just bought a new desktop computer. It’s like I didn’t get the memo.
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