Windows 8 Preview
The development of every new version of Microsoft Windows is accompanied by speculation, hope, and advice for Microsoft. We don't know anything, for sure, about what will be new in Windows 8. But here is what the rumor mill is grinding out right now...
What's Coming in Windows 8?
Windows 8 will be released in 2012, according to some pundits who cite unnamed sources. That seems rather unlikely, in fact, given that Windows 7 came out just two years ago, the enormous complexity of the project, and past history of product delays. But a 2012 release date dovetails nicely with the end of the Mayan calendar and civilization as we know it. Perhaps it's not a coincidence. :-)
A new, sleeker user interface is supposedly in development. This speculation is based upon leaked screenshots from the Windows 8 development team, showing a simplified UI. Of course, software in development often has a pared-down UI. But some observers are spinning hopes of easier control over Windows 8's look and feel from the leaked evidence.
Windows 8 will almost certainly NOT support 128-bit processors, as some observers hope. It just is not necessary and won't be for at least ten years. Windows currently supports 64-bit processors, which can support up to 4 Petabytes (4 million gigabytes) of RAM. The average computer sold today sports only 4 to 8 GB of RAM. So 128-bit support would be a solution in search of a problem.
On the other hand, Windows 8 may very well support ARM processors. ARM stands for "Advanced RISC Machines" and RISC, in turn, stands for "Reduced Instruction Set Computer". ARM processors have been around since 1983. Their architecture is simpler than the Intel x86 processor family, and consume less power. About 98% of mobile phones incorporate ARM processors. Since Windows 8 will emphasize support for mobile devices, it is plausible that ARM support will be built into it.
Support for New Devices
Windows 8 will be built for tablet PCs akin to the Apple iPad and Motorola Xoom. This one is not a rumor; it comes straight from Steve Ballmer, who has publicly said that Windows will be the operating system of tablet PCs. Older versions of Windows include optional support for (mostly obsolete) tablet PCs, but to counter Apple's hegemony, Windows will have to be built for the latest tablets. They'll also have to hope that the very popular and fast-growing Android platform for mobile devices will just go away.
Windows 8 will be faster than Windows 7 in both startup and operation. That prediction is based upon a Microsoft help-wanted ad seeking a design engineer who can help "make future releases of Windows faster, smaller, and more responsive than Windows 7." Of course, everyone wants it to be so, too. Another hint is a Microsoft patent application dubbed "Direct Experience Platform" which would bypass the full bootup process and take the user quickly to a "media experience." In other words, you'll be able to play music or videos almost instantly without waiting for the rest of Windows 8 to load. That would finally put the personal computer on par with other high-tech gadgets like, ummm, the portable transistor radio.
A leaked Powerpoint presentation referred to "PC My Way," a technology that would make Windows computing more convenient and responsive to individual users' computing habits. For example, you could walk away from an online game and it would pause instead of letting the zombies overrun you. More importantly, this technology would load only the Windows components that support the user's current activity, reducing the memory and CPU load imposed by unnecessary background processes.
Also Windows 8 settings promise to follow you from one device to another. The customizations that you set up on your desktop PC would also appear on your tablet, smartphone, and other devices to which the desktop machine syncs.
Finally, Windows 8 will make greater use of "the cloud," enabling easier access to online storage, and perhaps even storing parts of the operating system's kernel on remote servers. This would enable automatic updates without user participation or rebooting, and that would help keep Windows 8 computers secure.
Do you have something to say about Windows 8? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Mar 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Windows 8 Preview (Posted: 25 Mar 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved