Microsoft introduces Windows 8

Microsoft gave the world a glimpse of Windows 8, a tablet-friendly overhaul to its operating system.

Windows 8 is on its way, and it'll be a departure from the Windows we know and love today. That was the message Microsoft sent Wednesday afternoon at the annual D: All Things Digital Conference, taking place near Los Angeles.

At the conference, Microsoft presented a radically redesigned Windows interface: Instead of the traditional desktop with windows, the taskbar, Start menu, and so on, Microsoft demonstrated an interface that looks reminiscent to Windows Phone 7, its smartphone operating system -- complete with tough-friendly live tiles.

Microsoft also posted a video that shows some of the new features. Most notably, the company says that it's designed for not only laptops and desktops, but for tablets as well (which makes sense, given its big, touch-friendly buttons and visual style). The new tile-based interface replaces the traditional Start menu, according to Microsoft.

Macworld's Jason Snell notes on Twitter that "Windows 8 will run standard Windows apps, support standard Windows peripherals." Microsoft's video shows regular Windows apps running in a separate, traditional desktop mode that you can switch to with the press of a button.

Apps made specifically for Windows 8 will be a bit of a different beast -- they'll "use the power of HTML5, tapping into the native capabilities of Windows using standard JavaScript and HTML," the company says. It remains to be seen if this means that Windows 8-specific apps will be based solely on HTML5, JavaScript, and other Web technologies, or if they'll be some tie-ins to more traditional app development tools that Microsoft offers.

What's interesting about Windows 8 is that it's another step in PCs becoming more tablet-like. Apple is moving toward making Mac OS X more iPad-like with Lion's various iOS-inspired features, although Windows 8 seems to go one step further with merging the tablet and the PC. There will probably be some resistance to these changes, and we'll have to wait and see how it all works out in practice, but the writing's on the wall.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindowssoftwareoperating systems

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Mediati

PC World (US online)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?