This is Windows 8

A few weeks back, I was surfing the web and came across a website. I no longer remember the specific details of what that website was, but I remember there was a slider on the website. To work that slider I continually tried to slide it by using a touch gesture (swiping left) with my mouse even though I was on a traditional non-touch Windows 7 PC. I didn’t realize my mistake until a few seconds later when it dawned on me: I wasn’t on my touchscreen phone, I was on my PC – I had to click the right/left arrows. Then it hit me hard: Wow this sucks, not being able to use touch gestures. Apparently Microsoft agrees with me; they just revealed details about Windows 8 and guess what? It is optimized for touch.

As we know already, Windows 8 will be ARM-based as opposed to the traditional x64 architecture. Now we have more details about specifically how Windows 8 will look, feel, and behave:

  • For those familiar with Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 will feel familiar. Windows 8 highly incorporates the “tiles” design of Windows Phone 7.
  • Windows 8 will support two types of apps/programs. The first type of programs supported on Windows 8 are the traditional PC programs, such as the ones that run on Windows 7. In other words, non-touch based programs. The second type of programs supported on Windows 8 are mobile-like programs (i.e. touch based and open full screen) written in HTML5 and Javascript. Internet Explorer 10, which will be available in Windows 8, has already been designed to be a mobile-like program.
  • There will be support for hardware keyboards and mice (usable in both types of programs mentioned above), but there will be plenty of virtual keyboards available to use – including different keyboards depending on the orientation of your device -  and support for touch gestures for navigation.
  • There will be an app store for Windows 8.
  • Windows 8 will run on laptops, desktops, and tablets.
  • Windows 8 will “use less resources” than Windows 7. However, take note this does not mean if your computer can run Windows 7 it will run Windows 8. If your CPU does not support ARM architecture (which all CPUs in traditional Windows computer don’t), you won’t be able to run Windows 8.
    • Update: There is still a bit of confusion about if Windows 8 will only work on ARM CPUs or if it will also work on traditional CPUs. No one really knows.

There are no details about the launch date or pricing, but there is a juicy video that we can all drool or rage at (depending on which side of the line you sit at):

The “post-PC” era has arrived? Reflect in the comments section below!

[via Engadget]

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25 comments

  1. Neville

    This should bring some excitement back to Windows! Let’s face it, Windows was looking pretty stodgy and old-fashioned next to the Android & iPad tablets. But the limitations of the iPad & Android tablets make the pc still the go to tool for most of us. I can’t wait!

  2. Robo

    There is no confusion – of course Windows 8 will work on x86 platforms for goodness sake (how can you post that it may not support x86 with a straight face?)! There is no way Microsoft will not support x86 — and x86 will be the primary platform. If there is ARM support, it will just be another supported architecture, but won’t be the primary platform.

  3. 123

    @Rob (Down Under): ..
    the only improvements in vista vs xp:
    security (presumably)
    the filetype filter (in details view only, i assume, but the other views are usually worse)
    the runbox (is like an index of apps)
    context menu, “open file location” (but there’s a small reghack to put that in xp’s context menu)
    the purportedly viable built-in firewall.

    but there;s so much that’s horribly worse about vista, the positives are overcome.
    someday i’ll have a chance try win7, but don’t feel motivated to pursue any trial (tiny or whatever)

    ribbon. i’ve experienced it in a few apps. only recently did i wonder if ribbon might work on huge displays. 26? larger?

    OT… :-)

  4. newJason

    I do not like touch screen interfaces as the new standard. it is 2011 for goodness sake. Voice commands are my idea of the new best interface. Like Star Trek, and Watson. AND no more texting and driving. Oh well, it’s nice to dream.

  5. Jyo

    Wow, just wow. I don’t like how they keep combining things. I want my pc to stay a pc, not look like tablets or smartphones. I guess Win7 will be the the last “true” Windows “PC” OS. But who am I to tell Microsoft they’re wrong?

  6. Dan

    I’ve said it before..maybe not here, but certainly elsewhere..and I remember being laughed at when I first mentioned it..but I think the time is not too far off when we will see ALL of these OS programs (Windows / Linux et al..) coming together into one cross-platform system..as will the hardware..the start of which I think we are beginning to witness now. There will always be different programs for different tasks..and I think the future will see the giants out there focusing more on specific IT areas, rather than trying to maintain the dominant share of the current OS market we see today.

    It’s the nature of every major business to develop, as it expands its market, and to acquire other smaller businesses as it does so. If not, it will simply stagnate and die where it stands. With this mind, I think we will have see..in our lifetimes..the “coming together” of both hardware and software, that will incorporate both what we know now as the PC/Laptop/Note-Netbook and the mobile phone..into one hardware unit that will do everything for everyone.

    Granted, there will always be a choice as to what model or make we can buy, but the “under the hood” running systems will mostly be very much alike. What we are seeing now is just another step in that direction..towards a unifying of both systems and hardward.

    For those who might disagree, just think back to even a few years ago; who would have thought we would be watching videos like this, where they are talking about using cross-platform apps, which basically mark the start of a practical merge between both PC and mobile systems?

    Yes, I know there have always been similarities between the uses of both systems..but the point I am making here is the differences we have been use to for so long now, appear to be blending together, which can only lead to the marriage of both technologies..bringing us a new form that is..hopefully..the best of everything out there.

    Let’s face it..for many years, the only thing holding us back has been the reach of the current technology of the day..now it would seem we are at a stage where ways to advance have been found, are being looked into..or are expected to be discovered in the near future, enabling us to realize may things that have been sitting on the drawing board for far too long.

    If anything, I think now it is more a case of corporate “jockeying” for the biggest slice of the markets that is holding us back, than it is a case of what can and can’t be done. That, plus the ever on-going “battle” between followers and developers over which is the main OS out there..with all camps rigidly..even stubbornly..entrenched in their beliefs that their OS of choice is the best and will out-do the others in time.

    Even though there are questions of a philosophical nature involved in the great OS debate..and the on-going questioning of what it really means to be “Free” and what is “right” when it comes to us being online and having the right to be there in the first place,..sooner or later, these wranglings will result in a mixing of all, resulting in a system that draws on the best available. In a way, we can see the start of this already, with the look and feel of the recent Ubuntu 11.04 Beta release continuing the similar look and feel of Apple OS..as well as more than a few things in common with Windows.

    In short, most people fail to notice change until it actually starts to happen, even though that change started a long time before they ever realized it was taking place. This area of technology is forever in flux, always changing and nowhere near an end as you read this. Our children and their children in turn, will no doubt have to deal with such changes because, in the end, our technology only mirrors our own evolution..it has to change as we change..it needs to adapt, just as we, too, need to adapt.

    Whether we like it or not, things will change..software will continue to develop..and life will go on.

    Dan

  7. Mario

    it seems the tablets are getting into the PC’s. The zillions of PC’s around that do not have touchscreens will be left out, I guess, so it will probably be good for PC’s makers to increase their business again. The video is beautiful and makes one want it, BUT, FOR ME, this is useless as a tablet. Good entertainment but not much professional use.

  8. janet

    @Rob (Down Under):

    - Start Menu is a PIA, and you cannot revert to Classic.
    There are many programs which put the Classic Start in Windows 7–it’s one of the firsst things I did….:-)….

    - Banning access to folders (in Windows Explorer) that we were allowed to access in XP.
    You can get to them–they are just very hidden away…The entries that give the no-access windows are sort of fake folders that refer to other locations (like the Libraries).

    - Ribbon in Office. I know that is not Win 7, but it was another example of MS arrogance.
    I use Office 2003….:-)….

  9. Jake Shakespeare

    The thing that has always struck me as wildly unergonomic about a desktop computer with a touchscreen is that you appear to have to hold your arm(s) out horizontally to use it. Isn’t that a method of torture used on prisoners of war–being forced to extend their arms parallel to the ground for hours at a time?

    Shouldn’t the screen be angled almost flat on the desktop so that gravity is your friend, not your enemy? And provided there’s some sort of keyboard feedback, this would enable touch-typing.

    Am I missing something here? (I know that a conventional keyboard will also probably work with these computers, but then why have an on-screen keyboard at all?)

  10. Rob (Down Under)

    I am still extremely annoyed with MS for removing some functionality (aka let the user control things) from Windows 7
    - Start Menu is a PIA, and you cannot revert to Classic.
    - Banning access to folders (in Windows Explorer) that we were allowed to access in XP.
    - Ribbon in Office. I know that is not Win 7, but it was another example of MS arrogance.
    So I was not going to watch the video, to teach MS a lesson.
    However, someone mentioned Blade Runner (the best movie of all time), so that convinced me to watch the video.
    The functionality appears (to me) to be like what they use in the new series of Hawaii Five-O
    Am I correct ?

    PS
    Someone has given this tip before, but I notice not all of you have seen it.
    To edit a comment (in FF), click the mouse wheel, to open the Edit screen, in a new Tab.
    The edit screen will open in that tab, and works perfectly.

  11. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Dan: A thought just struck me. With Microsoft pushing Windows 8 towards ARM, doesn’t that bring Android and iOS in competition with Windows? I can’t imagine it would be too hard to bring either platform to the desktop – they have already moved from smartphone -> tablet.

  12. Dan

    My apologies for the typo in the above post. I tried to edit it, but for some reason the edit screen doesn’t seem to want to load..nor will it let me delete the post.

    Anyway..sorry for the typo.

    Dan

  13. Dan

    Impressive, to say the least! To be honest, of late, I’ve been moving more towards Linux, but having viewed that video..well, let’s just say MS seem to be taking a big step in the right direction at long last.

    I know and can appreciate some might disagree with me, but being a bit of a geek at heart and a lover of all things Sci-Fi, this is just too cool in my opinion and brings to mind more than a few scenes from movies over the years..Blade Runner and 2001 to name a few..

    It appears to be far more intuitive than what we have at the moment and, being old enough remember using the original DOS software, this feels like we are at last arriving into the fast, exciting techno future many of us thought we would never see in our lifetimes.

    I have only one nagging negative concern..and that is if the past history of MS is anything to go by, then we shouldn’t get too excited, as each OS they have rolled out has had more than their fair share of bugs and drawbacks. It would be nice if they got it spot on this time round and it worked ass expected right out of the box.

    Guess we will have to wait and see..

    Dan

  14. Gonzo

    Are you 100% positive that Windows 8 will ARM-only? It was my understanding that ARM would be added as a supported platform; not that it would replace existing ones :S
    I don’t understand why would MS break their many-years-and-probably-many-billion-dollar-deal with Intel…