Software, Tech News, Technology

Windows 8 previewed by Microsoft

You may have seen some of the coverage from the D9 and Computex conferences, but now there is Microsoft product marketing director Jensen Harris demonstrating Windows 8’s features in a company promotional video. There is a direct link to the video (minus advertising).

The “one size fits all” operating system will present an entirely new look and feel for most Windows users with the Start Screen lifted from the Metro UI on Windows Phone. The tablet-only video shows the Windows 8 touch interface looking strikingly like Windows Phone 7, displaying function-rich ‘live tiles’ for each application…

So far it looks very impressive with flick, swipe and slide gesture control. The video is heavily edited for promotional gloss, I gather the conference demos had some hiccups in their stage-manangement.

All the demos so far suggest that Windows 8 will feature this unified interface across all devices from phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Microsoft promises full support for applications written in HTML 5 and JavaScript – however Microsoft decides to implement that. My money is on the usual Microsoft-scewed, slightly non-standard implementation of technology that the company can control whilst selling its development tools.

Internet Explorer 10 is built with the touch interface in mind, with Microsoft determined to get as much content as possible onto the screen. To bring up the address bar or tabs, you swipe from the top to the bottom to get a tab gallery that shows a screenshot of their respective webpages.

For text input, the keyboard looks very much like a Windows Phone keyboard, but with tablets in mind, there is a split keyboard for thumb input: you can switch to the thumbs layout which separates the keys off to either side so you can use both your thumbs while holding the device.

No release date has been given but Windows 8 (as everyone including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer calls it) is expected to be available ‘before’ October 2012. AJS

About Allan J. Smithie

Allan J. Smithie is a journalist and commentator based in Dubai.


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