Windows 8 to Show Up On eReaders?

The Register has an interesting story today on Microsoft's plans for their next generation of Windows 8. According to Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s COO, they want to see the OS be loaded on to any number of devices, including ereaders.

“Microsoft will be this year the first company on the planet to have a consistent UI from the smart phone to the tablet to the slate, to the reader to the rich client and to the TV with our Metro UI,” he said. “We know the power of getting that consistent user experience is something our whole product portfolio will benefit from.”

This could indeed happen (assuming Win8 runs in ARM chips), but I don't think it's likely nor do I care all that much.

I'm kinda looking forward to seeing Windows 8 show up on tablets, but I don't care if it shows up on an ereader. First and foremost, most ereaders ship with the OS hidden from the user. That means it doesn't matter if it's running Windows CE (Ectaco Jetbook Color), Win8, Linux (Kindles, Kobo Touch), or Android (Nooks). Until someone hacks the device to get at the OS you usually cannot even tell which OS it is.

Also, if the device is a basic ereader (no Wifi or touchscreen) then I don't think it will even be worth hacking. There's not much you can with it, given the limited hardware. And if it does have decent specs then it will quickly be hacked into a tablet, just like the Nook Touch or Nook Color.

We're probably going to see Win8 on ATMs, signage, cash registers, and other places you don't expect (but can find Windows now). I'm not all that excited about those possibilities, either.  If I cannot use the underlying OS then it doesn't matter to me what it is.

Nate Hoffelder

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Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

9 Comments

  1. Ellen Hage19 March, 2012

    I would be interested if it meant a re-boot of MS reader as in the lit format.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder19 March, 2012

      Sorry. MS killed that already.

      And besides, that format is now less capable than Epub2. It’s time to move forward.

      Reply
  2. yuzutea19 March, 2012

    Don’t the technical requirements for WOA licensing mean that this would be an incredibly overpowered e-reader?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder20 March, 2012

      Yeah, that confused me too. The requirements for the consumer version of Win8 are a 1GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, and 16GB of storage. If the ereader has similar specs then it will surpass the specs of most of my tablets.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres20 March, 2012

        Well, but that is for the consumer computing version.
        A Win8 Embedded release would definitely not care about storage and odds are RAM requirement would also be lower. Even CPU requirement would be likely be relaxed as there would be little call for background processes in an ereader implementation.
        Do consider that Win8 Arm will be superceding WinCE so, yes, it *will* show up everywhere WinCE is in use today.

        Reply
  3. Xyzzy21 March, 2012

    The Sony Readers before T1 all run MontaVista Linux; one article I just ran across claims the Kindle DX, Illiad, Hanlin eReader v3, and Hanvon all run custom Linux distributions as well. (I’m not counting Android Linux devices, of course.)

    Hacking non-touchscreen devices can definitely be worthwhile, just with a different purpose: instead of giving it a completely different purpose (as with the Nook Touch), the hacks then add features or abilities. PRS+ for pre-T1 Sony Readers is a good example: it adds a dictionary, customizable key bindings, book history, support for custom epub CSS, games, a built-in fb2 to epub converter, and the ability to browse/favorite folders & open files from there, plus it’s localized to a bunch of different languages.

    Reply
  4. […] over a month ago one senior Microsoft  manager said that Windows 8 would show up on ereaders. I didn’t think much of the story at the time, but clearly that was a foreshadow of today’s news.And if you’re thinking […]

    Reply
  5. […] likely going to be a huge market segment where you won’t find Windows.Do you remember how Microsoft wanted t0 have Windows running on an ereader? Yeah, that’s out of the question now. Not very many people will pay an extra $90 to get a […]

    Reply
  6. […] Barnes & Noble is on tap and that it will be entertainment driven.This could be that ereader MS has been wanting to do, and it could also be the entire reason Microsoft got into the partnership with B&N. While I […]

    Reply

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