Windows 8 is coming soon

Windows 8


Update 7/20/2011: A video was leaked showing variations of the Windows 8 virtual keyboard.  Check out the video below.  The video shows a standard keyboard, numeric and character keyboard, and even shortcuts to emoticons.  Also shown is a handwriting recognition option to the virtual keyboard, which may completely frustrate medical doctors.

Windows 7 is not a bad OS for a tablet PC, however, it contains many legacy design issues which makes it not 100% touch screen compatible.  For this reason, it is best to purchase a tablet PC with a keyboard option when running Windows 7.  Many of the legacy applications have not incorporated touch functionality.

Windows 8 will change all that.  All applications which claim to be Windows 8 compatible, will not only need to have full touch screen functionality, but also support the new tile format.

Tile format? you ask.  Yes, Windows 8 Tiles will have the look at feel of the Windows 7 Phone operating system with tiles that represent each application.  The biggest advantage of using tiles instead of icons, is that tiles are large enough to see more about the application.  In fact, some applications can display the bulk of its information in the tile so you rarely need to open the application itself.  For instance, a weather app can display the temperature and a brief forecast on the tile making it so you can get an at-a-glance view.  Check out the screen shot below:

Windows 8 tiles

Windows 8 probably will allow you to choose which tiles to appear on the home page, and how to organize them.  So why not just use the Windows 7 Phone OS for tablets?  I’ve heard that question or statement many times, and those who say those words are exposing their ignorance.  A phone OS cannot support the complexity of applications such as Excel, Word, AutoCAD, etc.  The phone OS cannot be considered for any type of serious computing.  When it comes time to compare the Android, webOS, Blackberry, Meego, and iOS (Apple) operating systems to Windows 8, the superiority of Windows 8 will become evident.  Just try to run Adobe Photoshop on an iPad, Android, or any other tablet, for that matter.  The tablets running Windows 8 will be a true enterprise solution with their ability to run true business software.

An important piece of functionality to make Windows 8 more tablet friendly, is to make it fully compatible to run on ARM processors.  Why is this important?  ARM processors built by Intel and Qualcomm consume a much lower amount of power, thus a very slow drain on the battery.  An important element for tablets is that users expect to get at least 8 hours of use, and more like 10 to 12 hours.  Windows 8 also needs to be able to be housed on a single chip.  Tablets are all integrated circuits with no mechanical hard drives.  All memory is flash based, however, the operating system need to reside on an EPROM chip which is not volatile to being erased.

Microsoft is building Windows 8 so you can choose which user interface (UI) you wish to use.  For instance, you can have the traditional Windows look and feel, similar to Windows 7, or you can have the Tile interface.  The traditional Windows 8 UI will build upon the ribbon type of interface similar to the existing MS Office look.

Rumors are also circling around a possible XBox feel supporting Kinect sensor technology, which would be very interesting, especially for people who are disabled.  Some other possible functionality include a Sync function to sync folders across computers; Cloud based technology; and facial recognition for security while logging in.

Windows 8 will include Internet Explorer 10 which is fully touch compatible. The touch keyboard has an optional thumbs layout which makes it easier to type with just your thumbs instead of reaching across the keyboard with your finger.  The tablet will connect to other Windows computers on your network where you can pull in data, photos, music files, etc.

Microsoft has not made any commitments about when Windows 8 will hit the market.  I’m sure it will not be before the Summer of 2012, and market forecasters are predicting that in 2013, Windows tablets will take significant market share away from existing products.  I’m very excited to get my hands on a Windows 8 tablet PC.  I bought a Xoom with Android 3.1, but the next tablet I buy will be one with Windows 8 on it.  Check out the video below, and I’m sure you’ll also be excited about the future.

Building "Windows 8" – Video #1

windows 8 build 7989 keyboard

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