More Windows 8 details revealed

We already know a few things about Windows 8 and have even seen it in action (kind of); and earlier today I posted about the imminent release of Windows 8 Developer Preview, a downloadable-installable-and-usable-by-all preview of Windows 8. If you have been waiting on a few more Windows 8 details before joining the masses, your wait may be over. At their Build 2011 event, Microsoft has released a few more details about Windows 8. Here it is, right from the mouth of the beast:

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.

If you are too lazy to read all the above, the main points are as follows. Windows 8 will

  • Have a completely redesigned interface dubbed “Metro style” that will be optimized for touch as well as traditional mouse and keyboard;
  • Have a “Windows Store”, Microsoft’s version of an app store for Windows;
  • Support all hardware and software that works with Windows 7;
  • Work on ARM (e.g. mobile devices) and x86/x86-64 (e.g. traditional desktops and laptops) architectures;
  • Be a “one-size-fits-all” — one version of Windows 8 for desktops, laptops, tablets, etc.;
  • Improve on pretty much every aspect of hardware and software you can think of.

After reading all of the above, the biggest question that comes to my mind is this: What, if anything, will happen with Windows Phone 7? Dum, dum, dum…

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