We could have approximately 300MM Windows 8 PCs in about 2 years from the time Windows 8 is made generally available, and that is assuming Windows 8 tablets and other form factors don’t take off. With a little bit of upside in other form factors and assuming a small portion of existing Windows 7 user base upgrades to Windows 8, we could be looking at about 400-450MM Windows 8 devices in the market in just a couple of years. No matter what you feel about Windows, that’s a lot of devices! So if you are a smart developer, why would you ignore this opportunity?
Microsoft has touted the existing installed base on 500MM PCs which can be upgraded to Windows 8 today, but I am not looking at it that way. I feel the new users are easier to quantify than the existing user base, and we can think of the upgraders as additive to the argument, especially if it happens in large volumes as Microsoft seems to be implying.
What about technologies to build the apps?
Technologies should not be a concern either, and in fact the general developer population should be happy Microsoft is exposing the same APIs to HTML/CSS/JS, .Net and C/C++. So you can use HTML not just as client-rendered HTML but more importantly as HTML which can talk to the hardware like other programming languages can. So if you are proficient in the modern HTML5-based technologies, you only need to ensure you target WinRT APIs in your apps in order to make you apps work on any device that runs Windows 8.
Besides the programming languages, frameworks and environments, it is important to note that Windows 8 will support all the modern sensors and so if devices ship with NFC or gyroscopes, they will be available to the developers via the same WinRT APIs, which is another neat benefit of developing for Windows 8.
Windows 8 Development – Simplified Architecture