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Microsoft Previews Windows 8 at BUILD Conference

by Emily Price | September 13, 2011September 13, 2011 10:00 am PDT

This morning at its BUILD conference, Microsoft showed off its newest operating system Windows 8. Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, started off his presentation by talking a bit about Windows 7, which has finally surpassed Windows XP usage. The company has released over 1,500 product changes to Windows 7 since its initial release, and released IE 9 which has become the fastest-growing Windows 7 web browser.

Developers will be able to get their hands on the developer preview version of the OS later this week, some highlights include:

Touch-First User Interface

  • Metro style. Windows 8 introduces a new Metro style interface built for touch, which shows information important to you, embodies simplicity and gives you control. The Metro style UI is equally at home with a mouse and keyboard as well.
  • Touch-first browsing, not just browsing on a touch device. Providing a fast and fluid touch-browsing experience, Internet Explorer 10 puts sites at the center on new Windows 8 devices.

More Ways to Engage With Powerful, Connected Apps

  • Powered by apps. Metro style apps built for Windows 8 are the focal point of your experience, filling your entire screen so there are no distractions.
  • Apps can work together. Apps communicate with each other in Windows 8. For example, you can easily select and email photos from different places, such as Facebook, Flickr or on your hard drive.
  • Your experience syncs across your devices. Live roams all the content from the cloud services you use most — photos, email, calendar and contacts — keeping them up-to-date on your devices. With SkyDrive, you can access your files, photos and documents from virtually anywhere with any browser or with Metro style apps in Windows 8.

Enhanced Fundamentals

  • The best of Windows 7, only better. Windows 8 is built on the rock-solid foundation of Windows 7, delivering improvements in performance, security, privacy and system reliability. Windows 8 reduces the memory footprint needed — even on the lowest-end hardware — leaving more room for your apps.
  • Preserving power-user favorites and making them better. For those who push the limits of their PC, Windows 8 features an enhanced Task Manager and Windows Explorer and new, flexible options for multimonitor setups.

New Developer Opportunities

  • Windows Store. The Windows Store will allow developers to sell their apps anywhere Windows is sold worldwide, whether they’re creating new games or familiar productivity tools.
  • Build using more languages. Windows 8 lets you leverage your existing skills and code assets to create great experiences using the programming language you prefer.
  • Rich hardware integration leads to richer experiences — particularly for games. DirectX 11 gaming power underlies Windows 8, allowing the easy creation of full-screen games with smooth, flicker-free action.

New Generation of Hardware

  • One Windows — many shapes and sizes. Support for ARM-based chipsets, x86 (as well as x32 and x64) devices, touch and sensors means Windows 8 works beautifully across a spectrum of devices, from 10-inch tablets and laptops to all-in-ones with 27-inch high-definition screens.
  • Always connected. With Windows 8, new ultrathin PCs and tablets turn on instantly, run all day on a single charge and stay connected to the Internet so your PC is ready when you are. Next-generation system on a chip (SoC) support will also enable greatly extended standby and low-power states.
  • Tap the full power of your PC. Windows 8 runs on PCs and is compatible with the devices and programs you use today on Windows 7, without compromise, to deliver the performance you expect of a PC.

Check out some screenshots of Windows 8 in action below. What do you think? Are any of you looking forward to its release?


Emily Price

Emily has been obsessed with computers since the early 80s when she discovered she could play Ghostbusters on her father's Commodore 64. She...

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