Windows 8 coming in 2012?

Clues are surfacing again about Microsoft's next entry in the Windows line.

Just as you were getting comfortable with Windows 7, it looks like Windows 8 is coming in the next two years. In a post celebrating the one-year anniversary of Windows 7 -- the fastest selling OS in history -- Microsoft's Dutch Web site briefly mentioned the construction and release of its successor:

"Microsoft is on course for the next version of Windows. But it will take about two years before 'Windows 8' on the market." Winrumors.com grabbed and translated the post, and CNET took a screenshot of the text, which unsurprisingly disappeared shortly after the news stole headlines. Now Microsoft is back to being tight-lipped about Windows 8 and its expected release.

Reports from last year suggested Microsoft was building a 128-bit version of its OS, which could very likely be Windows 8. More recently, NetworkWorld acquired more than 15 confidential slide decks detailing possible additions, including body-sensing features similar to the Xbox Kinect, a desktop app store like Apple's forthcoming Mac App Store, near-instant CPU booting, and a focus on powering tablets.

But most importantly, by the time Windows 8 supposedly drops, Microsoft is going to have Apple's latest OS to contend with. Apple just gave a sneak peek of Mac OS X Lion -- called a marriage of OS X and Apple's mobile iOS -- that includes some drool-inducing features like a desktop app store, advanced multitouch gestures, and more.

If Microsoft acts wisely, it stands a chance to emulate -- and perhaps one-up -- all of OS X Lion's key features ... or it could rush and produce another Vista.

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Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
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