Print 67 comment(s) - last by Jacerie.. on Jun 4 at 11:25 AM

New Start screen

Weather app

Split "thumb" keyboard

Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President, Windows Experience  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft brings a little bit of Windows Phone 7 flavor to Windows 8

Apple's iPad may have a long head start in the tablet market, and Google is slowly starting to get its footing in the market with Honeycomb, but don't count Microsoft out just yet. The boys from Redmond today showed off what they've been working on when it comes to tablet functionality in Windows 8.

The entire Windows 8 operating system has full touch support and will scale from small screens (i.e. tablets), to notebooks, to desktops with their massive screens. Windows 8 can be interfaced using the traditional mouse and keyboard -- this is the "base" Windows 8 environment -- or completely through touch-based gestures.

But of course, everyone wants to know how Windows 8 is going to work with tablet devices, and Microsoft gave us a hint of that today at the AllThingsD conference. As previously rumored, the tablet-centric versions of Windows 8 have an interface that is modeled after Windows Phone 7's "Metro" UI.

The new Start screen includes "Live" tiles and allows you to swipe and flick your way through the interface like you would with Windows Phone 7 devices. Transitions are nice and smooth, and multitasking is accomplished by simply swiping your finger across the screen [video].

Windows 8 will be able to run traditional Windows applications that we've all come to know and love over the years, or more touch-centric full screen apps that are written in HTML5 and JavaScript. Microsoft plans to make tools available to developers to help kick start the app making process to ensure that Windows 8 doesn't have the dearth of optimized apps that plague the Honeycomb platform. 

Other tidbits that came out of today's announcement include the fact that Windows 8 won't require any more hardware muscle than Windows 7 to run properly according to Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky. Likewise, the OS will be optimized for both AMD and Intel x86 processors along with the hard-charging ARM architecture

Internet Explorer 10 is fully baked into Windows 8 and is obviously touch optimized. A new on-screen keyboard is also available including a new "split keyboard" configuration to make typing with your thumbs easier on a tablet.

"And this isn’t just about touch PCs. The new Windows experience will ultimately be powered by application and device developers around the world — one experience across a tremendous variety of PCs," said Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President for Windows Experience. "The user interface and new apps will work with or without a keyboard and mouse on a broad range of screen sizes and pixel densities, from small slates to laptops, desktops, all-in-ones, and even classroom-sized displays. Hundreds of millions of PCs will run the new Windows 8 user interface. This breadth of hardware choice is unique to Windows and central to how we see Windows evolving."

All in and all, it looks like Microsoft has made a valiant effort with Windows 8 for tablets, but it's still more of an "additional layer" plastered on top of Windows rather than a fully fleshed out, tablet-specific operating system like iOS or Android. However, this "quirk" allows it to take advantage of new HTML5 apps and still have access to the unparalleled catalog of existing Windows applications.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

This is risky..
By vision33r on 6/1/2011 9:59:37 PM , Rating: 0
All I can say is that people ain't gonna like this. While iPads are all the rage I don't think people are ready for desktops with touchscreens. It's been tried and even Apple has pointed out it fails miserably. Or else, why didn't Apple migrate to touchscreens on their iMac.

Think and look at how they are using the UI. It's like an ATM machine.

Steve Ballmer, you are right. This is very risky and your job is at stake here.

RE: This is risky..
By superPC on 6/1/2011 10:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
this is why you need to watch this . see the regular desktop is there. this new ui they're showing is just the touch interface ui. you can switch back and forth between this and regular desktop just like right now you can switch back and forth between regular ui and windows media center ui in windows 7. although it seem the integration between desktop ui and touch ui runs much deeper than in windows 7 as both ui is up and running all the time (it seems). i imagine software must be redesign to run on both ui with the regular maximize, minimize, and close button if you run it in desktop mode and in full screen in touch mode. If a software is only design to run on desktop environment (like office on that demo) you'll automatically switch to desktop ui.

RE: This is risky..
By Belard on 6/1/2011 11:22:33 PM , Rating: 3
The important bothersome issue with touch screen desktops...

DIRTY DIRTY screens.

Its bad enough on phones and tablets... but they work way better than phones from the past.

But a desktop or notebook where there is room and power for a mouse, keyboard, etc...

I only need to use an LCD wipe on my 24" screen about once every 2 months.... my phone will out fingerprint it in a minute.

RE: This is risky..
By GuinnessKMF on 6/2/2011 1:55:52 AM , Rating: 2
A little dirt will do you some good, all these kids these days with their constant purell sanitizing, no immune system! Kidding aside touch screens have gotten much better at repelling dirt/finger prints. Personally I'm a huge fan of what's possible with devices like Surface and the DIY clones coming out of the NUI community.

And of course, as others have mentioned, you don't have to use the touch screen interface if you don't want to.

RE: This is risky..
By themaster08 on 6/2/2011 2:29:18 AM , Rating: 3
I think you're forgetting that Microsoft recently announced support for ARM CPUs.

I would imagine this interface has been designed with current sized tablet computers in-mind.

Having said that, I absolutely love this interface! Microsoft needed to create a metro-like interface for Windows 8, and they've done it. The only problem I have is that they have announced this far too early. They should have waited closer to the release date to show everyone. The hype will wear before release, and it gives time for Google and Apple to steal Microsoft's ideas.

But then there's the flip-side to the coin. They need to show investors that they have a solution to Honeycomb and the iPad.

I have a WP7 and it's absolutely fantastic. If Windows 8 shares any of the same traits, it will be the best OS from Microsoft yet.

RE: This is risky..
By snakeInTheGrass on 6/1/2011 10:46:46 PM , Rating: 2
The tiles metaphor for a 'normal' PC doesn't hold for me - it loses the entire flavor of having windows. Or Windows. At the same time, flipping to Office/Word/etc. in with the task bar is a bit odd if it's a touch screen - it gets back to the issues of mixing a Windows UI with touch and just running into problems. Guess we'll see.

But a bit less ambivalent here - that multitasking metaphor is terrible! I have the 4-finger-swipe to switch tasks on my iPad, and it's useless since I rarely remember what was actually run previously, and Microsoft basically chose the same poorly implemented function just from one edge of the screen. Blech. HP has the right idea there with the cards and ability to select the app/screen you want to focus on for a tablet UI anyway.

RE: This is risky..
By acer905 on 6/1/2011 11:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're somewhat missing the point. This is not about making a new toy for people to use, its about creating a true replacement for the PC. You have to envision something like the ASUS Transformer, with the Metro interface being the main UI when detached from the base, and the traditional desktop interface the primary UI when it is attached. If the two UI's are as smooth operating as the video, switching between the two would not matter to the end user.

As for the way it handles multitasking, its essentially just adding a finger gesture to the age old alt-tab that Windows users are used to.

Either way, if the Metro UI is included in standard x86 editions of Windows 8, it won't really change anything. There will likely be a way to change the default loaded UI to standard, and if people don't want to use it, they won't. If they do want to use it, it will make the convergence of desktops and tablets easier, because they are using not only the same UI, but the same OS.

RE: This is risky..
By omnicronx on 6/2/2011 11:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
Or else, why didn't Apple migrate to touchscreens on their iMac.
Because it would compete with their iPad line? Correlation != Causation.

Take a hard long look at OSX 10.7 and tell me that Apple is not heading in the exact same direction as MS.

I also don't see the extreme risk here. I just don't see the value in a tablet only OS released by MS. Google and Apple have too much of a foothold in the mobile market to get users to shift without some kind of incentive.

Having a tablet device that could possibly replace a PC for many users could be a game changer (i.e its not longer just a device of consumption). Personally I think they went the right way, a tablet centric OS would have most likely been a failure out of the gate, at least if this is a failure, its only a layer atop the OS. (i.e even if Metro fails they still have the millions of PC users to fall back on).. Clearly not ideal as they would be right back in the same position they are in today, but given the alternatives I feel it was the best solution and probably sports the least risk compared to the alternatives.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki