Windows 8 is the next version of Microsoft Windows, a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet PCs, servers and media center PCs. “Building Windows 8” official blog is starting to drop out a bunch of information about the next version of Windows including.
Windows 8 brings together all the power and flexibility you have in your PC today with the ability to immerse yourself in a Metro style experience. You don’t have to compromise! You carry one device that does everything you want and need. You can connect that device to peripherals you want to use. You can use devices designed to dock to large screen displays and other peripherals. You can use convertible devices that can be both immersive tablets and flexible laptops.
These strengths fit well with our three goals – the ribbon would allow us to create an optimized file manager where commands would have reliable, logical locations in a streamlined experience. Updated Windows Explorer 8 looks like this:
Microsoft has spent a fair amount of time recently talking about its overhauls to Windows Explorer for the next iteration of Windows. The new Windows Explorer will improve its file management basics such as copy, move, rename, and delete functions, which make up 50 percent of Explorer's usage in Windows 7.
Opening up an Explorer window to look at your computer's connected drives will give you options to format, optimize, and clean up your hard drive, eject an external thumb drive, or activate Windows' Autoplay feature. Windows 8's Explorer will also include XP's 'Up' button that allows you to move backwards through your file directories. New tab Disk Tools looks like this:
The main feature that was shown is the extensively redesigned user interface, optimized for touch as well as use with mice and keyboards. A new "Start screen", similar to the one in Windows Phone 7, includes live application tiles. It replaces the Start menu, being triggered by the Start button or Windows key, and is also the first screen shown on startup. The user can go to the regular desktop by choosing the "Desktop" tile or a traditional desktop-based application.
Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft will design its operating system to work not only with Intel's x86 chip architecture, but also with ARM processors. ARM chips are very popular in the mobile device market and should help Microsoft's partners put Windows 8 on a range of so-called post-PC devices such as tablets.
To log in to Windows 8 requires just a swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Applications will be launched from a series of tiles. Included in the the start-up menu tiles is a direct link to a Microsoft Store, which suggests Microsoft will have its own version of an online application store, similar to the Mac App Store.
While Internet Explorer 10 has been redesigned to take advantage of a touch interface for tablets using Windows 8, the Office suite of productivity applications did not get any makeover for the occasion. Both of these are what an app store will bring to Windows. They will give users of not just Windows 8, but Windows 7 and Vista as well, quick and easy access to a trusted location where malware is filtered out and where the right software can be found, downloaded and installed. For consumers this is a huge plus and for software houses, especially smaller software houses, this will be a huge bonus for them in trying to get the word out that their software even exists.
It’s not all good news though and much of the success of the new Windows app store will depend on how Microsoft choose to manage it. The standard app store model was created by Apple, who are frequently criticised for creaming a whopping 30% off the top of a sale. This criticism has stopped them from doing so however and neither has it stopped Microsoft from doing the same with the Windows Phone store. It’s just accepted now that this practice, no matter how irritating and seemingly greedy it may be, is the accepted way of doing things and the price we have to pay.
Speaking of Apps, some Microsoft partners are already hard at work designing touch-based apps for Windows 8 tablets. ZDNet uncovered a purported early design for a USA Today Windows 8 app that has a very Metro UI look and feel to it. WinRT/Metro style applications differ from the traditional “Windows” look by eliminating the Windows “chrome” such as frames, window borders, control corners, etc. in favor a full screen, immersive experience. Metro style applications are intended to leverage asynchronous features in the UI controls and languages to provide a very “fast and fluid” interface.
Windows 8 development platform. When considering the impact of Windows 8 on future software development, the following broad strategies should be evaluated:
- Continue to use existing technologies, and run the application in the desktop environment.
- Create a WinRT/Metro style smart client application that takes full advantage of the new WinRT and Windows 8 features.
- Create a browser-based web application that relies on no plug-ins, so it can run in the browser in both the WinRT and desktop environments.
The first two options are the most likely options if your current applications are smart client applications that use WPF, Silverlight, or Windows Forms. Existing technologies map to the Windows 8 development platform in following diagram:
Microsoft is expected to reveal more details about Windows 8 during the company's BUILD conference that starts September 13 in Anaheim, CA.
That's all for now, I will keep an eye on Microsoft's blogs for more Windows 8 news.