Windows 8 start screen” />Microsoft is getting ready to show off Windows 8 at its Build developer’s conference, starting September 13.Over the last few months, we’ve seen a few demos of Windows 8, including a fancy interface for tablets.
Windows 8 will have two personalities: One will be similar to the desktop version of Windows 7. The other will be a tablet skin that looks a lot like the Windows Phone interface.
Beyond that, there are a lot of other hints as to what we’ll get when Windows 8 finally arrives next year.
One of the most interesting recent Windows 8 rumours is that it may be able to run Windows Phone apps too. That would be huge, especially for tablet owners. Think how easy it is to run Android and iOS apps on both phones and tablets. Now add PCs to the mix. It will eliminate the need to download multiple versions of the same app.
Microsoft has been very open about showing off Windows 8's tablet interface. And a lot of it looks good. Really good. Our favourite feature is the 'snap' function that lets you keep apps running on the side of your screen. Watch this video to see it in action.
Details are scarce, but Microsoft said Windows 8 will have an App Store similar to the one in Mac OS X. This is one feature we hope to learn more about during Build this week.
Last week, the Windows 8 team posted a video of a Windows 8 laptop booting up in just 8 seconds.
While that's impressive, it's not the first time Microsoft has claimed a new Windows version will have speedy boot times. Just because you can get to the Windows 8 home screen in no time doesn't mean apps will be loaded and read to launch.
In a controversial move, Microsoft is adding the 'Ribbon' toolbar to the top of Windows 8's Explorer. So far, reaction to the Ribbon hasn't been so hot. We're inclined to agree that it's probably not the best way to navigate a PC, so we hope Microsoft continues to tweak Explorer before the final release.
Microsoft is opening up Windows to most major processors, which means it can run on more devices. In addition to Intel and AMD processors, Windows 8 will also run on ARM processors from Qualcomm and Nvidia. That's great news for desktop and tablet makers alike.
Microsoft likes to give away hardware to developers so they can work with the latest upcoming products. Many have said developers who attend Build this week will get a free Windows 8 tablet to play around with. (We're jealous.)
You can see a leaked photo of the alleged tablet here.
Sometimes, even the small tweaks can greatly improve user experience. For example, check out this dialog box in Windows 8 that asks if you want to copy or replace a file with the same name. You get a thumbnail image of the current file and the new one. That way you get a visual cue what you'll be changing. That will hopefully reduce user error.
In one of its latest posts, the 'Building Windows 8' team discussed the importance of keeping up with the latest and fastest hardware.
The example they used was USB 3.0, the next-generation of USB that's about 10 times faster than what you're using now. Many have been slow to adopt USB 3.0, including Apple, so it's great to see Microsoft taking the initiative. It'll hopefully convince hardware manufacturers to do the same.
Windows 8 developers are doing a great job at keeping the public informed of what they're adding to the new OS. Keep an eye on their 'Building Windows 8' blog. They post a lot of new features and video demos that provide a sneak peek into Windows 8.
It's also a great way to give the Windows 8 team your feedback, so join in!
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