Microsoft showcases Windows 8

Microsoft has showcased Windows 8, its next generation touchscreen and tablet-focused platform that the IT megalith hopes will carry its hefty user base from the desktop, to mobile devices.

At its developer-focused BUILD conference, Microsoft released a detailed preview of the next major release of Windows, code-named Windows 8, designed for touchsceens and tablets as well as the PC. The new interface is bringing mobile to the desktop, as it resembles Windows Phone 7; however, desktop users can switch from the mobile-style view back to classic.

Ovum principal analyst, Richard Edwards, commented: “With over 450 million copies of Windows 7 sold to date, Microsoft must now transition its desktop operating system to the world of tablets and slates. More than two thirds of PCs today are mobile devices (laptops, netbooks, notebooks, tablets and slates), and so it comes as no surprise to see that Microsoft has gone all in with a complete redesign of the Windows interface to cater for touchscreens.

“Scheduled for release in 2012, Windows 8 has a similar look and feel to Microsoft’s mobile phone operating system, Windows Phone 7, although users can switch back and forth to the classic Windows interface if they prefer. This is a bold move for Microsoft, as previously the company has tended to follow the market in terms of user interface design.”

Support for ARM-based chipsets, x86 (as well as x32 and x64) devices, touch and sensors, means Windows 8 works across a spectrum of devices, from 10 inch tablets and laptops, to devices with 27 inch HD screens.