Building Windows 8 video reveals the future of Windows

first_imgDuring the All Things D conference in California this week, Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky revealed what Microsoft Windows 8 will look like. He noted that Windows 8 will run on ARM processors as well as traditional x86 processors, and will provide a similar experience on tablets, laptops, and desktops. In the first Building Windows 8 video, we get some clues as to what Windows 8 will have in store for us, and how we’ll use our Windows PCs when they run the new OS.From the get-go, you can tell that Microsoft has embraced the Live Tiles and Metro UI design included in Windows Phone 7, and integrated it with Windows 8. The format is larger and easier to read and navigate on tablet and full-sized PC displays.Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience team, points out in the video that the new Start Screen, will be the first thing that a user sees when they start up or log in to their system. He also notes that every app on your system in Windows 8 is represented by a tile, which means that virtually all apps written for Windows 8 will have some tile functionality – much like Windows 7 apps at launch that didn’t have contextual menus when pinned to the start menu.Over time and as Windows 7 took root, most app developers came up to speed, and Microsoft is clearly hoping that the same happens for Windows 8. They want more users to buy computers with touch-sensitive interfaces and developers that quickly embrace the Start Screen by the time Windows 8 is available.Harris also noted that all of the tiles and the full-screen, touch-sensitive apps that use them natively will use HTML5 and JavaScript to work. Notably missing from his list is Silverlight, which Microsoft already encourages developers to use. Still, using HTML5 and JavaScript may make some of the new tile-capable apps easily portable to Windows Phone 7.The Start Screen is also very similar in form to functionality promised in Microsoft SideShow — both products were clearly developed with the goal of getting a user to information without having to open apps specifically to get it. Sadly, SideShow never really took off.Windows 8 will also feature some Aero-snap style features that leverage the tiles, and will support legacy Windows applications. Looking closely at the video you can immediately tell they won’t make use of the tiles the way Microsoft wants newer apps to. Users will see names and icons, instead of the rich information shown from apps that support the new Start Screen.Finally, for those people who see the new layout and immediately think “I really hope there’s a way to turn that off,” it looks like there will be. As soon as you open a legacy app, or any other app that requires you to navigate through files and folders or leave the Start Screen, you’ll go back to the standard Windows layout that most people are familiar with, complete with a Start Button, taskbar and desktop.Microsoft is taking a big risk on the new Start Screen and the type of Web-enabled, full-screen apps that will use it and it’s Metro UI design. They’re also making a huge assumption that even desktop and laptop users prefer touch-interfaces. The gestures shown could be used just as easily on tablet screens and laptop trackpads, but it’s unclear how they’ll translate to keyboards and mice. Users will likely be able to turn it off, regardless.It was entertaining that a number of the images on the walls in Microsoft’s design room were blurred out: Microsoft isn’t ready to tell the public everything about Windows 8 and its design just yet. Still, the real question is whether or not the shiny new Start Screen will be available in all versions of Windows, or just “Windows 8 Ultimate” and “Windows 8 Tablet Edition.”More at All Things Dlast_img

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