Windows 8 was just launched recently amidst much fanfare. It retains elements that users are used to, such as the traditional desktop environment, but without the usual Start button and menu that's now replaced with a new Windows 8 Start screen. This new interface - a smorgasbord of colorful tiles - is entirely different from what users have been using for the past 17 years since Windows 95 debuted (whose interface elements have been used right up till Windows 7).
Even though the Windows 8 Release Preview has been out more than a year ago for enthusiasts to have a quick look and feel of the upcoming operating system, it was still an early revision of the OS where most users can't afford much time to use it on a daily basis, let alone rely on a 'beta' edition of the OS. Now that it's finally launched and with compelling upgrade offers (and over here), more enthusiasts can jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon. Even so, the radical change in user interface might seem intimidating to some consumers, and may even put them off from upgrading to the most refreshing OS yet from Microsoft. Fortunately, most of the new functions in Windows 8 are somewhat obvious the moment a user has made contact with a new Windows 8 machine - and more so with machines designed for Windows 8 in mind. Of course, we also have a group of users who can never have enough of a good thing, like further hands-on experience and viewpoints from editorial and Microsoft.
To prove this point and to give our readers a thorough run-through of how best to use Windows 8 and to share some tips and tricks, HardwareZone partnered with Microsoft with PlayTest event focused on Windows 8. Held on the evening of 8th November at Microsoft’s One Marina Boulevard office, we had the advantage of a huge auditorium with nearly 100 attendees for this event, complete with a slew of new products designed for Windows 8 and some surprises like toying with Windows Phone 8 devices as well. After all, every HardwareZone PlayTest event is based on our principle to engage, educate and entertain readers and members of our community hosted by the editorial teams of HardwareZone and HWM. For those who missed out on the event, we've prepared a short video overview of what took place at the event right after the photos:-
Our very own Associate Editor of HardwareZone, Ng Chong Seng then gave the attendees a quick run through on how to navigate the new Windows 8. Littered throughout the presentation was also bite-sized nuggets of tips and tricks on how to get Windows 8 working for you. Participants were also given adequate break-out sessions to test out Windows 8 and the numerous devices from Acer, Aftershock, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Sony. Attendees were also able to see for themselves how well Windows 8 works with Ultrabooks and tablets with touch screens and even AIO systems. Gaming-grade notebooks from Aftershock were a good re-assurance to attendees concerned about gaming capabilities in Windows 8 and compatibility with older games. Product specialists from some of the brands as well as the team at HardwareZone were also present to give further advise on systems or provide demos.
The participants could hardly contain their excitement towards Microsoft’s new operating system, that most of the break time was spent handling the many Windows 8 devices on display. Some participants also crowded around a handful of Microsoft representatives, to find out more about the new operating system, as well as the upcoming Windows Phone 8 OS. After Chong Seng concluded his hands-on demo with Windows 8, Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketing Manager, Patrick Fong took the floor to give the attendees a quick look at the new Windows Phone 8 software. He showed us the basic premise of what Windows Phone 8 is all about, as well as how to navigate the mobile OS. He also showed us all the interesting ways that users can seamlessly integrate a Windows Phone 8 into our daily lives.
Also present to assist in answering the myriad of questions that the attendees have dished out regarding Windows 8, were Microsoft's Desktop Deployment Project Manager, Victor Wingsing, and Digital Marketing Lead, Nazeem Mustaffa. They were busy answering all kinds of Microsoft related questions, not just those about Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8. All things considered, many of the attendees have gained further insight from engaging with the various Microsoft reps and the HardwareZone team at our PlayTest event.
So this is a short look at what to expect from HardwareZone’s PlayTest events. As a bonus, participants who signed up early in this PlayTest event also managed to walk away with a free copy of HWM's November 2012 issue, as well as a Windows 8 Pro product key to experience the new OS for themselves at their leisure. So don’t forget to sign up early and we hope to see you at our next PlayTest event!