07/28/2011 Leave a comment
Microsoft has announced the official release date for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview: February 29th.
The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of tablets and smartphones. With Apple dominating a large chunk of the market share, Microsoft has been hard at work coming up with ways to tap into that booming market. With the upcoming Windows 8 release the tech giant unleashes a wide array of changes to address changes in device technology and to add support in areas that it’s OS hadn’t offered it previously, such as for ARM microprocessors found in tablet computers.
While past versions of Microsoft Windows have been geared towards traditional PCs, the 8th version of the operating system takes a decidedly more contemporary approach. The new Windows PC makes use of smaller screens and touch technology. In fact, the inclusion of touch technology means that users have the option of touch, keyboard, mouse and pen-based navigation through which to operate the system. The redesign of this operating platform makes it more fluid and fast, according to Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Experience.
Gone is the traditional “Start” menu and sliding in its place is the new “Metro” screen, which offers a customized page from which to launch applications from the full list available on your device. This eliminates the current, more muddled way you have to navigate to these apps, which involves going to the “Start” menu and navigating to a “Programs” tab to find your program on the list. The Microsoft 8 interface will also offer regular updates from your apps and create an easier and more fluid way to switch between them. This change is similar to the experience you might get currently through the Windows smartphone.
Moreover, Windows 8 will run a bevy of new apps as well as those programs that have previously run under the Windows platform, such as Windows Explorer and Desktop. The new operating system will be compatible with Windows 7 and any software associated with the previous system.
This latest OS will offer a new method of password authentication; instead of setting the traditional “word-based” password, users will now be able sketch over parts of the picture to log in to the device. Windows 8 will also provide an online store that will sell Windows-based apps. The system can be run from drives connected via USB ports, including flash drives, which is another marked departure from the previous versions of Windows. Dubbed Windows to Go, this feature is aimed at corporate America, allowing employees to work on systems with either Windows 7 or 8 from work, home and just about anywhere else, offering a new kind of mobility.
Windows 8 will also allow users to navigate between numerous monitors as necessary, allowing for a customizable taskbar for each different display. And for those that have had to suffer through a complete system loss due to a virus or other OS issues, Windows 8 offers two possible solutions: Refresh and Reset. The Refresh feature only reverses changes to the operating system, removing any programs and applications without the need to erase all files and settings. The Reset feature reinstalls Windows completely without the need to have access to the hard disk or going through the licensing stuff again.
Windows devotees will likely appreciate the wealth of upgrades and enhancements, but like most operating system products, it is only upon installation to a specific device that users will get the full effect of the Windows 8 experience and determine if the upgrade is beneficial.