New Features in Windows 8
Microsoft unveiled Windows 8 at the D9 conference in early June, 2011. CEO Steve Ballmer hints that Windows 8 will be launched in late 2012. The next generation of Windows will be a radical departure from the past for users and software developers. Here is what we know about Windows 8 so far...
Windows 8 - Look For a New Interface
Goodbye, desktop. Windows 8's default user interface does away with the familiar icons on a desktop metaphor, replacing it with an all-tiles interface of apps and data items. Tiles are filled with app data - for example, a weather app's tile will display the temperature and forecast. The new UI borrows a lot from Windows Phone.
Indeed, Windows 8 is geared towards touch screens. Tiles can be slid around the screen with a fingertip. Swipes and pinches are used to open and close apps. But don't worry, you can still use a mouse and keyboard with Windows 8; you'll just have to switch to the "legacy" interface.
Microsoft seems to be betting the ranch on tablets and other mobile devices with Windows 8. In truth, sales of desktop computers have declined steadily in recent years. But laptops are still going strong, and they are where much of business computing happens.
You have to wonder how Word, Excel, and other keyboard-centric applications are going to work with a touch screen. Microsoft says that most earlier applications and hardware will work with Windows 8, and it promises a "dual-input mode" for tasks that require precise control over cursor movement.
Microsoft says that "a Windows 8-based PC is really a new kind of device, one that scales from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse." So, it looks like we will have one Windows operating system running on phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
Windows 8 Software and Apps
Under the startling new UI, Windows 8 is packing a number of interesting features that were add-ons in the past. A native PDF reader is included. (Adobe and Foxit, you can officially start working on your new business plan, now.) Windows Explorer will get a new Ribbon-like interface similar to those found in MS Office apps. An app called History Vault will back up files on the fly and let users restore them from a specific date and time - a much more granular restore solution than the current System Restore.
Online storage will be integrated with Windows 8, and a Microsoft Windows 8 app store will be accessible directly from the operating system.
Software developers are dismayed to learn that Windows 8 applications will be based on HTML5, negating all the effort they've put into learning .NET, ActiveX, Silverlight, and other MS development platforms. Microsoft says the radical move will allow users "effortless movement between existing Windows programs and new Windows 8 apps."
Microsoft has yet to show all of its cards regarding Windows 8. But industry insiders are saying that we can expect a Windows 8 Beta release in September 2011. As the hype builds to Windows 8's launch, many more demos and new features will be unveiled. But it remains to be seen how compelling Windows 8 will be. Keeping in mind that about 60% of Windows users are still sticking with the 10-year-old XP, will users fling away their mice and keyboards, embracing Windows 8 with glee? Or will they recall the sting of Vista, and take a pass?
What do you think about Windows 8? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 23 Jun 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- New Features in Windows 8 (Posted: 23 Jun 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved