It’s not just a shell, because it’s fast

Paul Thurrott, trying to convince himself why the new Windows 8 touch UI is not just a shell:

Answering the BS complaints about the new Windows 8 Start screen being “just a shell” on top of Windows, he [Microsoft corporate vice president Mike Angiulo] notes how quickly you can move back and forth between this screen and the traditional Windows desktop. “You see how fast that switches?” he asks as he goes back and forth between the two UIs in a decidedly non-jarring manner. “It’s not a different mode. Launching this is like launching the Start Menu. It’s just instant.”

Please explain to me why the speed of a shell somehow makes it not be a shell or a mode.

The real problem with Windows 8 is of course nothing to do with the new UI being a shell or not. It is the fact that dealing with the complexity of traditional Windows UI is not enough anymore, users now have to deal with yet another layer of UI. It is an ugly compromise.

Another sign of a compromise is that, at least for now, Windows 8 looks like it is designed to be only used in landscape more, like traditional desktop/laptop computers are. For tablets, landscape primarily only makes sense in games and watching video. In my experience, portrait is generally much more effective for other types of tasks.