Microsoft pulls back the curtains on tablet-friendly Windows 8

Microsoft pulls back the curtains on tablet-friendly Windows 8Microsoft certainly knows how to make life difficult for itself. First it gives its smartphone OS a massive headstart before finally getting Windows Phone 7 to market, and now it's pretty much done the exact same thing with tablets and Windows 8.

Nonetheless, the next version of Windows has finally been given some airtime courtesy of a demo by Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky at the D9 conference in the US, and finally gives Windows the touch-friendly look and feel everyone's been crying out for.

Windows 8 – and that's still an unofficial title at this stage – may be the latest version of Microsoft's desktop OS, but it draws heavily on the smartphone-based Windows Phone 7, both in terms of its appearance and in Microsoft's approach to dealing with OEMs.

For starters, it features the use of Tiles as in WinPho 7, which will be a mixture of traditional Windows applications and HTML5 web apps.

It's been designed to work with touch interfaces from the start, so while it will still happily team up with a keyboard and mouse in the desktop PC environment, it's also equipped with a range of virtual keyboards for tablet use.

The on-screen Tiles will include the Live Tiles with notifications we've become used to in Windows Phone 7, while an all-new Internet Explorer 10 will be rolled out alongside Windows 8 too.

However, one similarity with WinPho that's already proving less than popular is that Microsoft is taking a similarly rigid approach with Windows 8 when it comes to hardware and component partners.

Chipmakers have apparently already been told they need to choose a single component manufacturer to work with, which it believes will speed up the delivery process.

As for a release date for Windows 8, Sinofsky says it's a “Defence Department secret”, but if we had to put some money down, our bet would be on early next year.

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Stelph  Jun. 2, 2011 at 11:06

Ive seen mixed comments on the look of Windows 8 but personally I really like it, its really important to remember that these tiles are just a layer, the standard Windows Desktop is still there and (from my understanding) you can quite easily use Windows 8 without seeing/using this tile layout at all.

However on a tablet PC I think the tiles are the way to go, working a widgets (to show constantly updating information) or shortcuts to windows applications, so I can see now why Windows are avoiding putting WP7 onto a tablet as then there would be a huge overlap between WP7 and Windows 8, with windows 8 being hugely more powerful

The only downside that I can see is backwards compatability..! Unless your favourite windows application is still being developed then it probably wont be set up for use with a touchscreen, so I suspect that you will only be able to add windows programs to the "tiles" if they are available from (what will probably be) the Microsoft app store, if its a normal windows program you will probably have to drop back to the desktop to load it

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 2, 2011 at 14:06

I have a touchscreen win 7 laptop, and though I dualboot and usually use ubuntu, I have loads of programs on the win install, and they all work fine with touch. Actually tne win7 touch keyboard works excellently, incl handwriting recognition...


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