Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Microsoft Offers First Official Look at Windows 8

Today in a demonstration at the D9 conference a Microsoft executive showed off the new Windows 8 interface for tablet based PC's and desktops. The new UI appears to be based on the metro tiled design found in the in the Zune and Windows Phone 7 software.

According to the Microsoft press release that followed the live demo even though the new UI looks like its geared mainly toward touch PCs. The new Windows OS will work with or without a keyboard and mouse on a broad range of screen sizes and pixel densities, from small slates to laptops, desktops, all-in-ones, and even classroom-sized displays.

In a video demo that accompanied the press release, Jensen Harris, director of program management for the Windows User Experience team, walked through the user interface, including live tiles, app "snapping," and classic software compatibility. The whole thing looks pretty slick:

Here is Microsoft's official list of new features shown off today:
  • Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps.
  • Live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps.
  • Fluid, natural switching between running apps.
  • Convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, so you can really multitask using the capabilities of Windows.
  • Web-connected and Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC.
  • Fully touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10

While I'll say the whole thing looks pretty slick right now I'm not sure I really care for it. I don't like these dumbed down OSs that we are seeing. I like the power user feel that allows me to have more control over my system. I also prefer a cleaner no icon look rather than a cluttered work space with widgets and icons all over the place.

At this time there's is no published launch date. However, Microsoft does plan to show off more at a mid-September developers' conference, BUILD  on Sept. 13 - 16 in Anaheim, Calif.

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