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Windows 8 is all about touch

Fort Wayne rollout low-key, uneventful

Baumgartner

Windows hopes to slam the door on its competition.

Microsoft Corp.’s latest operating system – Windows 8 – is the company’s attempt to merge the product seamlessly into PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The new touch-screen interface is causing a stir among Windows users, but things were quiet at some Fort Wayne retailers Friday when the software debuted.

There could have been some buzz at local stores for Microsoft’s new Surface tablet, which also went on sale Friday, but the company is presently selling the device only through its retail outlets and website.

“We haven’t had people coming in asking for it,” said Brad Roberts, assistant manager at Radio Shack in Glenbrook Square. “It’s been pretty quiet.”

Ditto for Best Buy – although staffers say as the holidays get closer things naturally will pick up.

“We clearanced a lot of laptops and other devices with Windows 7 on them months ago,” said Chad Steingass, store manager at Best Buy across from Jefferson Pointe. “The biggest thing people want to know is if they’re going to feel comfortable with the new system. I think it’s cool, and you can switch from the touch-screen mode to a more traditional Windows look.”

The new software is a sweeping departure from earlier Windows versions with the signature start menu in the lower-left corner no more. Users also will have to swipe the edges of the screen to access various settings. A new screen filled with a colorful collection of tiles will greet users now. Each tile leads to a different application, task or collection of files.

Windows 8 is designed especially for touch screens but can work with a mouse and keyboard.

You can count Gary Baumgartner of Fort Wayne among consumers who will be a holdout.

“With Microsoft, you know there are going to be bugs that have to be work out, so I usually end up waiting,” he said, shopping at Best Buy on Friday. “I like to hear what other people are saying about it and what the reviews are. I still won’t be changing over anytime soon.”

Glen Shack, a sales trainer for hhgregg on Parnell Avenue, said he got hooked on Windows 8 after attending an electronics show.

“I know a lot of people are worried about it being complicated, but to me it’s simpler,” Shack said. “We’re having a special sale from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, where we will be offering a lot of Black Friday-like deals. We’ll show anybody who wants to learn about Windows 8 all they need to know.”

pwyche@jg.net

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