Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
Even though it was Microsoft’s final year at the Consumer Electronics Show, it was still the company everyone was talking about.Besides Windows Phone, the other big story at CES was Windows 8, Microsoft’s next operating system due to launch this fall on tablets and desktops.
It’s gorgeous. And it feels very un-Microsoft.
It’ll be several more months before you can buy the full version of Windows 8. But that hasn’t kept developers and manufacturers from playing around with it now. Keep reading to see what’s up with Windows 8.
Blue Stacks, the same company that lets you run Android apps on your Windows PC, now has an alpha version of its product for Windows 8 tablets. That means when you buy your Windows 8 tablet later this year you'll already have access to tens of thousands of Android apps. Those apps will also show up as 'tiles' on your Windows 8 Start screen. Pretty cool.
Say what you will about touchscreen PCs, but Windows 8 looks absolutely gorgeous running on them. We got to see several concepts like this one from Sony at CES and were stunned how well Windows 8 looks on a big screen.
When Microsoft releases its preview beta to the public in February (more on that later), it will also come with a market for purchasing apps and games. From the looks of it, some big-name developers are already on board. At Microsoft's keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we saw a demo of the popular game Cut The Rope running on a Windows 8 tablet. We saw other apps like eBay and Evernote (pictured below) already live in the market.
Ever since Windows 8's big public demo back in September, we've seen a ton of protype tablets running Windows 8. From Samsung to Lenovo to Qualcomm, just about all chip and PC manufacturers have been showing off Windows 8 tablets. (We saw a bunch of them at CES.)
It's important to note that none of these tablets are official, but you can bet those same manufacturers will have finalised hardware ready to go in time for the Windows 8 launch this fall.
We saw a ton of super thin Ultrabooks at CES last week. Supposedly, they're the next hot thing that will bring a nice big boost to PC sales 2012. Although they'll ship with Windows 7, Microsoft has made sure that every single machine will be ready to install Windows 8 on day one. That's good news.
Microsoft says it will release a free public beta of Windows 8 in February. If you're already running a Windows 7 machine, you should have no problem upgrading to Windows 8. Just know that there are likely to be a ton of bugs since it's not the final version. (That's due out this fall.)