three and a half minute video, Microsoft may have shown the
world what it has in store for the eagerly
awaited Windows 8. In the video Microsoft showed a radically
different interface from past versions of Windows -- even Windows 7.
Running on Surface 2, the touch-screen successor to the original
Microsoft Surface, the device accepts input from a Windows Phone 7 handset
Gone are the icons that drive Windows, OS X, and Linux operating systems of
past and present. In their place are "bubbles" that interacted
with files and post streaming information off the internet.
Bubbles are auto-generated in various categories (personal, entertainment,
gaming, etc.) and can also be created by a user. Clicking on a bubble
brings up a program or interaction item. For example clicking on a bubble
for an upcoming flight will display alternate flight times with weather-based
probability for delays. Users could use the interface to switch their
flight, should the desire.
It's hard to say whether the new interface will indeed be bundled with Windows
8. That would perhaps offer an explanation of why Ballmer calls Windows 8 his
company's most "risky" upcoming product.
Microsoft has already gambled big with its mobile operating system, Windows
Phone 7. Unlike Android (Google) and iOS (Apple) who use chiclet grids of
apps (in Android's case with widgets tossed in the mix), WP7 offers a radically
different design based on colorful animated tiles. That design
attracted Nokia to embrace WP7, essentially slotting it to become the #2
mobile operating system in the world, overnight.
With Apple looking to make its next version of OS X, Lion, greatly
reinvented and more "iOS-like", Microsoft might be trying a bit
of the same. Whether the new interface shows up in Windows 8, or Windows
9, perhaps, it appears like it will dramatically alter the way we interact with
our desktops and laptops.
It would definitely be "risky" to place the shown UI in Windows 8; as
such an interface would take a major adjustment from users and would bring
certain new hardware requirements to the table (for all its fancy animations).
But the upside is that it looked extremely innovative and could allow
users to gain access to the information they want most, much faster than they
can currently in Windows 7.
Mr. Mundie also showed off [video] an Image Based
3D viewing client similar to Photosynth, running on Windows Phone 7. He
also showed off key features of the current Microsoft Surface, such as its pack of fun physics-based
touch apps and its ability to scan in photos. He also showed new