Microsoft has officially lifted the lid on Windows 8, with a developer build of the next generation operating system arriving at the Build conference. Windows 8 is aiming to prove that the familiar Microsoft operating system has a future not only on desktops and laptops, but also tablets and televisions. That means the touch-friendly Metro-style tile interface that is familiar to users of Windows Phone 7 and better support for web apps.
The key for Microsoft is coming up with an OS that not only supports touch and big screens, but can also keep hold of the traditional computing audience who like the desktop and familiar file systems.
TechRadar’s hands on: Windows 8 review suggests that there are still rough edges to be, ahem, filed down, but that the experience is “extremely compelling and genuinely innovative.”
Although it is not yet ready, Windows 8 will also run on ARM machines as well as the familiar x86 PCs – a major departure for Microsoft and one that is designed to prove the versatility of its offerings.
Look and feel
Obviously the most obvious difference between Windows 8 and its popular predecessor is the user interface.
Windows 7 supported touch, but it was immediately clear that a true touch interface was needed going forward and, in Metro, this is what Win 8 brings.
Replacing the familiar Start menu is a Start screen which allows the same kinds of live tiles and data as Windows Phone 7s home screen but also allows much fgreater flexibility for the user.
“We reimagined Windows,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows. “From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise.”