Now is the perfect time for Microsoft to revive Windows 8 – for one simple reason

Okay, I know the headline is a bold statement. Windows 8 was one of the most maligned iterations of Microsoft’s flagship, released at a time when everyone was still longing for the functional simplicity of Windows XP, and had a strange, tile-based user interface designed to serve the Surface tablet line , a product series that Microsoft never seemed to be able to fully commit to.

I won’t lie, I was on the Windows 8 hate train at the time; damn, I was the goddamn conductor, and I owner of a Surface. The operating system’s biggest shortcoming, in my opinion, was that it also included the option to switch to a conventional (and honestly, better) Windows desktop interface, but not by default – adding an annoying extra step to get to my desktop I started up my device.

To make matters worse, the Surface didn’t need a tablet-style user interface. Part of the appeal was that it was a tablet with the functionality of the best Windows laptops, so I just didn’t want a different user interface: I wanted a laptop. But what if that tiled screen was really good, just ahead of its time?

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8.

The classic Surface is a nostalgic object for me, but not because of the operating system, that’s for sure. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Surface tablets are still a weak competitor to the Apple iPad, if market share is anything to go by, but there’s a new breed of Windows device in town: gaming handhelds. After the success of Valve’s Steam Deck, we’ve seen a handful of Windows-powered imitators: the Asus ROG Ally, the Lenovo Legion Go, and the upcoming MSI Claw, to name a few.