Regardless of whether or not Windows 8 will be a hit, the consumer preview, released last Wednesday, is flying off the virtual shelves.
Microsoft tweeted Thursday that the consumer preview hit a million downloads within 24 hours of its release. Given that there are relatively few compatible tablets or touch-screen PCs available, one initial question is -- who precisely is downloading this new OS beta?
Ross Rubin, executive director for connected intelligence at The NPD Group, explained that a large proportion of the downloads are most likely via developers "who want to see the latest version, as well as IT professionals and early adopters."
These users are interested in checking out what has changed since the Developer Preview in September, he mentioned, and particularly want to try the tile-based, touch-optimized Metro interface. Microsoft has stated that more than 100,000 code changes were made to Windows 8 since the Developer Preview.
Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner, said his initial impression is that "the response seems pretty positive, especially toward Metro on touch-screen devices." But, he added, it remains to be seen if users like the emphasis on touch, given that most of the innovation is in the Metro interface.