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Windows 8 Review – Part 5: A Hybrid OS

by Gunnar Berger  |  July 20, 2012  |  12 Comments

Disclaimer: Gartner analysts use their blogs to share their personal views and opinions on subjects close to their hearts.

Welcome back to my final installment of my Windows 8 Review. At this point I’ve pretty much covered most everything I want to say, but I do have one last thing I’d like to talk about and it gets me a little bit excited:


This Sunday I’m flying to New York to do a series of presentations for Universities across the state and I was thinking about what I’m going to pack. I’ve been testing different phones, tablets and laptops, and it occurred to me that Windows 8 combined with the Samsung slate device is a hybrid device. I can leave the iPad and the laptop at home and just take the slate device with me. The reason I take both with me is that I use the iPad on the plane for entertainment and for quick email responses, and I take the laptop for the hotel when I want to hunker down and get some real work done. This slate replaces the need for both devices. More importantly, I no longer have to spend $700 on a tablet and another $1000 on a laptop, I can buy one device and have it be both. This makes me wonder how I was ever duped into buying multiple devices for one purpose (me working). Windows 8 is a hybrid, and as such if it’s successful it’s going to reinvent the mobile user. We’re going back to having one device not two (unless you really want an ARM tablet), so I’ll rephrase that, I’M going back to one device not two.

There is a lot more analysis that could be done on Windows 8, such as: How the Windows Market Place will determine the success of a Windows tablet market, or will Surface simplify MDM management. There are a bunch of questions going on internally at Gartner and a lot of very sharp analysts are on the case. The main point to my blog (and I realize I got off track) was to review Windows 8 and I will admit I really wanted to have a medium for me to point out flaws in the use case of enterprise desktops (something I care about). These flaws are very important for me, as I tend to not recommend remoting a Windows desktop to a tablet device because Windows 7 and XP are not designed for touch. Windows 8 is and I want it to be the answer I need in the desktop virtualization field. I only hope my blogs and the countless others I have read only help to continue the development of this operating system. If you are going to the Gartner Catalyst (Twitter: #GartnerCat) conference you will hear me state that Windows is going to be around for a long time, these blogs are me doing whatever I can to help steer it in the right direction.

I’ve enjoyed writing these blogs, I hope you have enjoyed reading them. Please feel free to tweet me @gunnarwb, or leave me comments below. I love hearing feedback.

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Category: sbc  shvd  vdi  

Tags: catalyst-na  win8  windows-8  

Gunnar Berger
Research Director
1 year at Gartner
14 years IT industry

Gunnar Berger is a research director for Gartner's IT Professionals service. He covers desktop, application and server virtualization ...Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Windows 8 Review – Part 5: A Hybrid OS

  1. shawn says:

    thanks for the reviews! ive been using windows 8 on my laptop connected to a large screen tv since the first day. I like snapping a metro twitter app called tweetro for now while I do everything else on the desktop.

  2. Hmeister says:

    Slate 8 gets better and better and yes, I also have an iPad and it has not been seen for awhile since I got my Slate 8 going. At&t 4g card runs and Bitlocker is running. This hardware build by Samsung is slick and polished. Yes, a true Hybrid! And it continues to be a workhorse. My test this upcoming few weeks will be to leverage this device as my primary device. I am using a Logitech bluetooth keyboard and MS bluetooth mouse. And yes – It just gets better and better…

  3. JMC says:

    I’ve come across your blogs about Windows 8 by coincidence and I’m highly impressed by your analyses which make the difference between using a device for consuming content or creating content (aka real work!).
    One point I would love to read about is the use of a stylus with Windows 8 – my work frequently involves sketching something and taking quick hand-notes (like many other creative people I assume). I am only interested in a tablet if this functionally is available because otherwise I still have to carry a paper-pad like our ancestors did for hundreds of years…

  4. Kublai7777 says:


    Win8 comes with stylus support. Depending on the hardware design you’ll also get different support for different stylus pressures too. Some Slates have a silo for stylus stowage. Other’s don’t. I use a Thinkpad Windows Tablet convertible and paper notepads have long gone and that’s with a 4lb heavyweight!

  5. Kris says:

    I agree with you about getting rid of a variety of devices in favour of one. I have a phone, a pad, and two laptops. I bought an Asus Transformer thinking it would be the best of a laptop and a pad, but it is nowhere close.

    What I want is a small laptop, with plenty of processing power and a touch screen. I work with two 24″ monitors so don’t need a big laptop, I watch TV over the internet on a 32″ TV, but I want something light and easy to read in bed.

    I would love an ultralight touchscreen laptop with Windows 8 if it can bring the office side together with the entertainment side successfully, but from what you have said, its the office side that suffers. That is a shame, and I hope they can work it out soon.

  6. SteveS says:

    Try “Classic Shell” from They seem to have resolved most, if not all, of my objections to Windows 8 regarding desktop use.

  7. T Harvey says:

    Notably, I’ve been using the Win 8 beta on a inspiron Duo, and it runs superbly as both a decent PC workhorse and as a tablet, for a relatively low price. They have been somewhat mysteriously discontinued by Dell, but there are still a few floating around. The Duo has outright replaced both my android tablet and my laptop as my on the go workhorse, Mobile media player and reader. Only downside is battery life is only 3-4 hours. but that really hasn’t been a problem for me. The slick and fast response of Windows 8 clearly outperforms Windows 7 accross the board on this gadget. and it can run any normal applications I throw at it, and has a dedicated media chip to handle video with nary a flicker. Based on this alone, I’ve become very attached to my hybrid and Windows 8, and definitely see a continuing and underutilized market for it. Just my two cents 🙂

  8. Michael Charlton says:

    What we’re going to see is an initial spike then plummet just as fast. There is absolutely no compelling reason to upgrade from Windows 7 except for Microsoft’s B.S. about the PC era being over and laptops and desktops are going obsolete.

    In reality, laptops are merely getting thinner and more mobile. Desktops are getting faster. The market is becoming more segmented.

    Imagine GM declaring an end to the truck era because people are buying more fuel efficient vehicles. So then they decide to phase out trucks by creating “pick-up” cars because you can haul stuff with good gas milege.

  9. Thanks to the reviews ! I 100% agree with you!
    Modern or formely Metro is not made for enterprises! There are too much wasting of worktime in Modern by use of Mouse and keyboard. 99% of my worktime I am not on the loo ;-).

    Even the Modern Startscreen is full of play Toys and not realy made to work!
    I think the Modern search Page is the real Start-Menu!

  10. First of all, Gunnar is talking about the Pro version of Win 8. Windows 8 RT tablets do (mostly) none of this. Secondly, Windows Pro Tablets will be significantly more expensive than an iPad or RT tablet. Third, he neglects to mention the huge productivity drops inherent in deploying a primary touch-enabled OS throughout an enterprise where somewhere between 60-90% of the users have dual monitor desktops. Take a trip to Microsoft in Redmond, and there too you won’t find desktops going away from the vast majority of offices. Good for salespeople? maybe. Good for field tech’s? Meh…possibly. The in-office workers? A resounding No. Enterprises need to seriously consider dropping the OS from their Enterprise Agreement. It’s just not worth covering Win 8 for the entire org — it’s a niche OS for the mobile workforce subset. And, I DO agree with Gunnar that tablets (iPads included) are primarily consumption devices. Personally, I have a razor thin Samsung series 9 laptop solid state running Windows 7. Boot time is Immediate. It’s extremely light. I can connect TWO external monitors to it. It has a mini-HDMI for easy big-screen connectivity. By the way, I installed Win 8 on my HP Touchsmart. The keyboard worked on Win 7, not on Win 8. Touch works, but I put a DVD and it doesn’t play — I learned there isn’t native autoplay. (I downloaded VLC player.) Is this just a pre-release item…not sure, but I see no advantage to having a touch screen for the majority of office workers, whose screen is 2-3 feet away and aren’t going to be poking at it anyway. Windows 7 is tested and, in the next 2-3 years, IT departments in companies with ~1000 desktops+ will be migrating to Windows 7 (the right move). From an Enterprise Agreement perspective, break up your “Pro Desktop” Platform into pieces. If I renewed my EA at all, it’d be CoreCAL only; drop office and drop the OS from enterprise products. Buy Windows 8 OEM, put SA on it via Select or even OPEN programs if you really need to for Enterprise needs; it’ll save you tons. Thanks, Gunnar! I thought you went a little easy on Win 8 in the enterprise and need to clarify that Surface RT doesn’t do most of this (which is what MS is giving to ALL their sales force…why? It doesn’t even have Outlook for God’s sake — maybe they’ll side-load an internal MS/IT version of Outlook for ARM), but I DO appreciate your blog series. – Best! -Software Licensing Advisors (

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