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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 superPC on 6/2/2011 8:40:53 AM , Rating: 2
you and that article you posted (http://daringfireball.net/2011/06/windows_8_fundam... brought some good and interesting point. but instead of looking at it that way we can also look at it from a different point of view. the point of view of people who bought keyboard for ipad or eee transformer (for which there is a lot). people who bought atrix 4g laptop dock. all those people that expect to get more out of their tablet. people that also want create content instead of just consume. for those people windows 8 would be a perfect OS. for consumption or light use the touch interface would suit it well. other times they want to use keyboard they can switch to normal desktop. hell you can buy a viewsonic tegra 2 tablet for 300 (http://www.amazon.com/ViewSonic-gTablet-Multi-Touc... attach keyboard and mouse to it and you can have the full windows experience when you want it or need it.

all the other stuff you mention about microsoft start bleeding revenue everywhere can also be look at another way. office can sure compete with similar apps. if it can't than it would already be replaced by numerous other productivity suite out there like open office, iwork, and other. even if they created a touch centric office with limited capability their main business wouldn't be affected (they've done this with windows phone 7 office BTW and apple has done the same with iwork). about web app and loss of revenue, ehm have you search for apps for windows lately? there's already millions of them (go to zdnet if you don't believe me). web app or normally installed app, free or paid. if it doesn't disrupt MS income right now why should it disrupt it when win 8 comes out? if anything it should increase revenue since MS can really leverage on the new product scout or windows app store (or whatever they ended up being named). about enterprise solution for server and stuff: MS is still fighting it out with linux distros. i fail to see how windows 8 would suddenly cause MS to loose the battle.


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