Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said combining touch and stylus computing with traditional keyboard and mouse input would “push” the PC experience, and as of midnight, there will be a Windows 8 PC for everyone’s requirements and budgets.
He may have a point on the budget side. Windows 8 lead executive Steven Sinofsky said there will be more than 1,000 PCs certified for Windows 8 that will retail for under $300. “These will be multi-touch, full capacity PCs that run much cheaper than some leading tablets,” he said.
Therein lies the connundrum: Why multi-touch on a desktop or laptop PC? It’s not as compelling as on a tablet, where the experience, with apologies to Steve Jobs, can be magical. Windows 7 is still a comparatively new operating system, it’s stable and it’s powerful. An upgrade so soon won’t be in the cards for many people. Then there’s the question of what existing data you can keep from your existing OS, which depends on whether you run Windows 7 (pretty much everything), Vista (personal files and settings, but no applications) or XP (personal files only).
Windows 8 will start to make sense when OEMs start building tablets on the platform. Later in the afternoon, Microsoft demoed its Surface tablet
. We’ll be getting our hands dirty with one early next week, and should have some video to show you.