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.

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RE: No need to redesign
By Aloonatic on 6/2/2011 5:40:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'm confused. Can a Tegra 2 system run Windows 8 smoothly or not? Your last 2 comments don't seem to make it clear, and how do you know anyway?

Do you mean that Tegra like systems will "run smoothly" or do you now think that they can "technically" run Win8? If it's the latter, it sounds like another "Vista capable" debacle in the making, if what you are saying is how it's going to go down. From other articles it seems that MS might have learned their lesson and been stricter with their min requirements, however.

It just seems odd how before you were questioning if it would work smoothly, and now you are saying that it will.

RE: No need to redesign
By jvillaro on 6/2/2011 11:33:22 AM , Rating: 2
In the Taiwan event Microsoft showed much more than on D9. All Windows 7 PCs will run Windows 8, requirements will be the same or less. And the showed demos on ARM computers.
They had a laptop with Nvidias quad-core Tegra 3 (KAL-EL).
Don´t know if Tegra 2 will make it but Windows 8 is coming out next Year, Tegra 2 will be in the past by then. If we're completly honest not even HoneyComb runs "smoothly" on Tegra 2 (but maybe that just Honeycombs fault).

RE: No need to redesign
By Aloonatic on 6/2/2011 12:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure that it will run better on Tegra 3 than on Tegra 2, that only stands to reason. I'm not sure where I've said otherwise????

I just questioned the person that I was replying to's change from if it will work blah blah to it will definitely work blah blah.

There seemed to be a lot of blind faith in their statement, which is usually reserved for "Appelites" and for which they are usually mocked and derided for on here.

For the record, I think this (win8/Metro) looks great and hopefully it will work well, and be nice and smooth on the hardware that people will actually buy, or that MS recommends. I'm sure they learned a lesson from the Vista capable thing.

RE: No need to redesign
By jvillaro on 6/2/2011 12:59:49 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry maybe I didn't what you were asking before.
There where other ARM based demoed maybe on the same level as Tegra 2... But I haven`t had the time to look at all the news.

As far as lesson learned from Vista, I hope so too. Theres already talk about MS imposing MINIMUM specs on future tablets kind of what the do with WP7... I certainly hope so.
ACER is already bitching... but let them I hope we can avoid POS that will harm the experience

"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

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