Does Windows 8 mark the post-post-PC era?

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Just when we're told we're entering the post-PC era, it seems that the post-post-PC era may soon be upon us.

Windows 8, which Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) unveiled this week at its BUILD conference, is going to be so cool, so intuitive, so capable and so powerful that it will leave the iPad in the dust--at least according to Zach Epstein at Boy Genius Report.

The tablet computer proved itself to be much more intuitive than the PC, but the PC has remained the most effective device for the kinds of computing functions many business need, he writes. As Microsoft prepares to unleash the next version of its operating system, it is unifying the strengths of the two devices.

"Apple paved the way but Microsoft will get there first with Windows 8. A tablet that can be as fluid and user friendly as the iPad but as capable as a Windows laptop. A tablet that can boot in under 10 seconds and fire up a full-scale version of Adobe Dreamweaver a few moments later. A tablet that can be slipped into a dock to instantly become a fully capable touch-enabled laptop computer. This is Microsoft's vision with Windows 8, and this is what it will deliver," Epstein writes.

The PC of the future will be portable and powerful at the same time. It will be lightweight, but it will be capable of running Excel, Outlook and proprietary enterprise programs.

For a different perspective on the prospects for Windows 8, take a look at John Gruber's post at Daring Fireball. In Gruber's view, Windows 8 could succeed without necessarily rivaling the iPad. It could be a popular choice for desktops and notebooks without making strides in the tablet market.

In terms of the user interface for Windows 8, Microsoft is "is admirably blazing its own trail," Gruber writes. He points out, however, that Microsoft hasn't revealed how Windows 8 will operate on non-demo hardware, and he takes Windows 8 cheerleaders to task for jumping the gun. 

"It's all in the future. All potential, nothing actual," he writes. "And no matter how good the demo, I'd be wary of predicting success a year in advance against a technically outstanding and phenomenally popular product like the iPad."

For more:
- see Zach Epstein's post at Boy Genius Report
- see John Gruber's post at Daring Fireball

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