Microsoft previewed Windows 8 today at the BUILD conference. In his keynote, Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft said, “We reimagined Windows. From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise.”
It comes with a personalized lock screen that shows unread emails and other app notifications, the ability to see apps and content "in a glance" on the start screen, it lets you pick files you want to send or share from one place, it has fast touch browsing and large buttons on the touch keyboard, and a thumb keyboard. Here are some screenshots of this stuff:
Other key features, as highlighted by the company include:
Touch-First User Interface
|•||Metro style. Windows 8 introduces a new Metro style interface built for touch, which shows information important to you, embodies simplicity and gives you control. The Metro style UI is equally at home with a mouse and keyboard as well.|
|•||Touch-first browsing, not just browsing on a touch device. Providing a fast and fluid touch-browsing experience, Internet Explorer 10 puts sites at the center on new Windows 8 devices.|
More Ways to Engage With Powerful, Connected Apps
|•||Powered by apps. Metro style apps built for Windows 8 are the focal point of your experience, filling your entire screen so there are no distractions.|
|•||Apps can work together. Apps communicate with each other in Windows 8. For example, you can easily select and email photos from different places, such as Facebook, Flickr or on your hard drive.|
|•||Your experience syncs across your devices. Live roams all the content from the cloud services you use most — photos, email, calendar and contacts — keeping them up-to-date on your devices. With SkyDrive, you can access your files, photos and documents from virtually anywhere with any browser or with Metro style apps in Windows 8.|
|•||The best of Windows 7, only better. Windows 8 is built on the rock-solid foundation of Windows 7, delivering improvements in performance, security, privacy and system reliability. Windows 8 reduces the memory footprint needed — even on the lowest-end hardware — leaving more room for your apps.|
|•||Preserving power-user favorites and making them better. For those who push the limits of their PC, Windows 8 features an enhanced Task Manager and Windows Explorer and new, flexible options for multimonitor setups.|
New Developer Opportunities
|•||Windows Store. The Windows Store will allow developers to sell their apps anywhere Windows is sold worldwide, whether they’re creating new games or familiar productivity tools.|
|•||Build using more languages. Windows 8 lets you leverage your existing skills and code assets to create great experiences using the programming language you prefer.|
|•||Rich hardware integration leads to richer experiences — particularly for games. DirectX 11 gaming power underlies Windows 8, allowing the easy creation of full-screen games with smooth, flicker-free action.|
New Generation of Hardware
|•||One Windows — many shapes and sizes. Support for ARM-based chipsets, x86 (as well as x32 and x64) devices, touch and sensors means Windows 8 works beautifully across a spectrum of devices, from 10-inch tablets and laptops to all-in-ones with 27-inch high-definition screens.|
|•||Always connected. With Windows 8, new ultrathin PCs and tablets turn on instantly, run all day on a single charge and stay connected to the Internet so your PC is ready when you are. Next-generation system on a chip (SoC) support will also enable greatly extended standby and low-power states.|
|•||Tap the full power of your PC. Windows 8 runs on PCs and is compatible with the devices and programs you use today on Windows 7, without compromise, to deliver the performance you expect of a PC.|
To me, the most exciting feature sounds like the part about "turning on instantly and running all day on a single charge." Since using Chrome OS, Windows start ups have never been as painful.
The developer preview release will be available tonight at 11PM Eastern. It includes a 64-bit (x64) build with development tools to build apps and a 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) build without development tools. It also include a suite of sample apps, which are just illustrations of potential apps, not apps that we intend to ship with Windows 8).
The buzz is pretty positive so far. Here are some tweets:
I have to say, Windows 8 on a tablet looks incredible. So futuristic.
@johnbiggs windows 8? more like windows gr8~! jajaja1to paraphrase
I think the focus on full-screen apps in Windows 8 is going to be pretty divisive. The old desktop is there, but it isn't well integrated.
Engadget has a hands-on demo video of the Samsung Series 7 Slate running the new OS:
Are you excited about Windows 8? Do you plan to get a Windows 8 device? Let us know in the comments.