Microsoft gave a sneak peak at Windows 8 – its upcoming next-generation operating system for desktop computers and tablets during its BUILD conference in Los Angeles yesterday. Windows 8 includes a number of features such as “Metro style” user interface inspired by Windows Phone 7, Internet Explorer 10 that will offer support for touch browsing, Xbox Live and lots more.
With Windows 8, Microsoft and its hardware partners hope to compete with hugely successful Apple’s iPad running iOS.
Windows 8 includes a number of new features such as:
Touch-First User Interface
- Metro style. Windows 8 introduces a new Metro style interface built for touch, which shows information important to you, embodies simplicity and gives you control. The Metro style UI is equally at home with a mouse and keyboard as well.
- Touch-first browsing, not just browsing on a touch device. Providing a fast and fluid touch-browsing experience, Internet Explorer 10 puts sites at the center on new Windows 8 devices.
More Ways to Engage With Powerful, Connected Apps
- Powered by apps. Metro style apps built for Windows 8 are the focal point of your experience, filling your entire screen so there are no distractions.
- Apps can work together. Apps communicate with each other in Windows 8. For example, you can easily select and email photos from different places, such as Facebook, Flickr or on your hard drive.
- Your experience syncs across your devices. Live roams all the content from the cloud services you use most — photos, email, calendar and contacts — keeping them up-to-date on your devices. With SkyDrive, you can access your files, photos and documents from virtually anywhere with any browser or with Metro style apps in Windows 8.
- The best of Windows 7, only better. Windows 8 is built on the rock-solid foundation of Windows 7, delivering improvements in performance, security, privacy and system reliability. Windows 8 reduces the memory footprint needed — even on the lowest-end hardware — leaving more room for your apps.
- Preserving power-user favorites and making them better. For those who push the limits of their PC, Windows 8 features an enhanced Task Manager and Windows Explorer and new, flexible options for multimonitor setups.
New Developer Opportunities
- Windows Store. The Windows Store will allow developers to sell their apps anywhere Windows is sold worldwide, whether they’re creating new games or familiar productivity tools.
- Build using more languages. Windows 8 lets you leverage your existing skills and code assets to create great experiences using the programming language you prefer.
- Rich hardware integration leads to richer experiences — particularly for games. DirectX 11 gaming power underlies Windows 8, allowing the easy creation of full-screen games with smooth, flicker-free action.
New Generation of Hardware
- One Windows — many shapes and sizes. Support for ARM-based chipsets, x86 (as well as x32 and x64) devices, touch and sensors means Windows 8 works beautifully across a spectrum of devices, from 10-inch tablets and laptops to all-in-ones with 27-inch high-definition screens.
- Always connected. With Windows 8, new ultrathin PCs and tablets turn on instantly, run all day on a single charge and stay connected to the Internet so your PC is ready when you are. Next-generation system on a chip (SoC) support will also enable greatly extended standby and low-power states.
- Tap the full power of your PC. Windows 8 runs on PCs and is compatible with the devices and programs you use today on Windows 7, without compromise, to deliver the performance you expect of a PC.
You can checkout the hands-on video by This is my Next to get a glimpse of Microsoft’s next generation operating system:
Microsoft hasn’t provided any details on when it will be released, but the developer preview of Windows 8 is already available for download and some reports it could be release in early fall next year. Microsoft gave away a free Samsung tablet loaded with Windows 8 to all those who attended the conference. Though it is still early days, the feedback has been generally positive.
Even though Microsoft and its hardware partners will be late to join the tablet wars, it’s great to see Microsoft coming out with what looks like a worthy competitor to Apple’s iOS for tablets.
Let us know what you think about Windows 8 in the comments section below.