Windows 8 – Dual Mode UI Dichotomy

This page will take a quick look at the last two in the list.

Improved Security Thanks to Hardware Limitations
Due to limitations in mobile processors and components, some very interesting and rather beneficial security measures have been built into many mobile operating systems.  This is good and bad. While users aren’t given the computing experience they may have today, many users seem happy to relinquish this functionality for improved security, improved stability, etc.

For example, app sandboxing, or the requirement that applications must live and breathe within their own contiguous, walled-in memory space, is now being implemented in a number of mobile, as well as desktop operating systems, including Windows 8. As a result, malicious code can’t infect other areas of memory.  Running applications (theoretically) aren’t effected by malware or malicious code that gets injected into the system because they won’t share memory or code.

Can People REALLY Multi-Task or Not?
THIS is the great debate.  Many people will tell you that they have multiple windows open and often swap data back and forth between running tasks.  Many studies will tell you that very few people, perhaps 1-2% of all people who claim they are good multi-taskers, actually CAN do more than one thing at once.

Most computer users who have multiple, open windows lose track of the applications they have running.  All they really end up doing is wasting resources keeping the tasks alive.  As such, most mobile devices have done away with multitasking in favor of task switching – tasks that don’t have focus save the current app state to memory, but are largely shut down. As the tasks are needed, they receive focus and the stub that was retained in memory is brought back to life. All others are saved to disk and their states saved.  As those tasks age and are “orphaned,” they are shut down.

The most common reason for multitasking OLE (object linking and embedding) exchanges of data from, for example, Excel to Word.  Most people with multiple, running tasks switch to another task, copy data from one app to another and then either close or abandon the first app.  In many cases, however, open apps go for hours without being used and simply waste available resources.  New mobile apps and their memory models allow for this type of use case and simply put the inactive apps to sleep and eventually kill them if not used within a set amount of time.

Real multitasking apps are music players, image renderers, optical disk rippers, file copiers, etc. The new mobile apps allow for those uses cases too, and allow them to multitask appropriately.  However, most desktop apps don’t need or require multitasking and work just fine being switched in and out of active memory.

Given all of this, multitasking just doesn’t make sense, and as such, most computing devices don’t need the power to do it.  It’s clear at that point that given these three, new computing paradigm changes, that traditional desktops or laptops aren’t really needed and tablets can likely fulfill the computing needs of the general public and many executive, enterprise-types.  The case for getting rid of the traditional desktop experience at this point is clear.

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