Pokki on Refrigerated Toast

Fri, Apr 27, 2012

Frisky Misc, Industry

With the recent reference to the Windows 8 operating system being likened to a “Toaster-Fridge” by Apple CEO Tim Cook, the internet memes and jokes have come out to play. The discussion of whether the operating system is moving in the right direction or not has had journalists and technologists sharing their opinions from both sides of the argument this week. Whether you’re Team Toaster-Fridge or Team Toaster-Oven, #Win8OS is definitely causing a ruckus.

SweetLabs, a TriplePoint client and developer of the Pokki desktop app platform, released a blog today discussing the merits of both sides of the argument, while discussing how Windows 8’s Metro App Store is missing some of the key elements users need and why current technology, including the Pokki platform, are available to move app technology deployment in the right direction. Read more below from Pokki’s CMO, Chester Ng, on the subject:

Toasters, Fridges, and the Future of Computing

In a recent interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, the heir to the Jobsian Empire compared the upcoming Windows 8 OS to a “Toaster-Fridge,” making the point that attempting to combine a laptop and a tablet into one device may be nothing more than convergence for the sake of convergence. It’s no surprise that this off-hand comment has elicited a series of outbursts, internet memes, and even Twitter parody accounts.

Although bold and creative, is Windows 8 really the right evolution for the world’s dominant PC OS, or is it instead a misguided attempt to combine two contrasting products into one (e.g.Toaster-Fridge)? Tim Cook, along with a laundry list of journalists including ZDNET’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, suggest that this merger between the traditional PC and tablet computers will not be pleasant.

“I think anything can be forced to converge. The problem is that products are about tradeoffs, and you begin to make tradeoffs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user,” said Cook at Tuesday’s interview.

Shortly after the interview, Microsoft’s head of PR Frank Shaw responded with the following tweet:
must be a typo. it’s not a toaster/fridge. It’s a toaster/oven. Those seem pretty popular. Just saying. #win8 #toasterovenFTW — Frank X. Shaw (@fxshaw) April 24, 2012

So, where do we stand? Well, we’re excited about Windows 8 and we think it represents a major step forward for the world’s dominant operating system. The problem is that it isn’t really a step forward for computers at all. The innovations contained in Windows 8, at least in its “consumer preview”, are tailored almost entirely for touchscreen usage, and call us old-fashioned, but we don’t expect you to throw out your keyboard and mouse. In fact, the Windows 8 Metro interface, while a great experience for touchscreen devices, arguably makes the desktop experience worse by removing a lot of the things that made Windows a great PC operating system in the first place, like easy access to programs and settings. As Matthew Murray from ExtremeTech recently wrote:

“But what Microsoft forgot, or perhaps ignored, is that the world is not yet all tablets. There are millions upon millions of current or prospective desktop and laptop owners out there who want and need to use their computer with their mouse rather than their finger, and think being able to flip instantly between applications — and see them simultaneously — isn’t a feature but a necessity. “ - Matthew Murray, ExtremeTech.com

Whether you’re a skeptic or optimist, Windows 8 does appear to offer numerous performance improvements and could be a great experience for touchscreen devices. But judging from what we’ve seen so far, the Windows 8 experience for traditional desktop users is, as Ars Technica editor Peter Bright wrote, “awkward”, “frustrating”, and “problematic.” The rise of touch computing and record iPad sales certainly indicates a significant change in the computing environment. But does that really mean we are ready to ditch our keyboard and mouse? Guess what all of you are using to write your Windows 8 reviews – a touchscreen? Wrong. A keyboard.

{enter shameless plug} And that’s why we launched Pokki, an alternative to the Metro App Store, that brings a modern, beautiful app experience to the billion “forgotten” desktop users in a way that does not require you to throw away your keyboard and mouse or search furiously for your start menu. Give Pokki a try, she won’t bite!

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