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Monday, September 19, 2011

Window 8 Preview Sounds Impressive, So Far

It may be months away before Microsoft formally launches its Windows 8, but the company has unveiled a preview of its next-gen OS to developers and members of the press. Based on the images provided, the next version of Windows is radically different from its predecessors.

Microsoft has also provided Windows 8-powered Samsung text tablets to tech bloggers and reporters for hands-on treatment. The initial reviews have been favorable.

“My first impressions are so favorable that even Apple should be on alert,” writes Edward Baig of USA Today. The preview, however, only provides a miniscule of Windows 8’s full potential. Test tablets do not allow software uploads and do not have Microsoft Office, although Microsoft insists that Windows 7 programs “will work even better” on Windows 8.

The highlight of this upcoming OS is a customizable user layout called “Metro,” which features touchable tiles of different sizes on the Start screen. It enables users live updates about the stock market or the weather. The screen reminds one of what is already seen on Windows Phones. Dragging one’s finger from the right edge of the screen to the middle reveals five hidden icons called “Charms,” which represents search, share, devices, settings, and a button that returns the user to Start. Dragging the finger from the left edge of the screen to the middle takes the user back to the previous screen.

There are several Metro apps preloaded into the tablet, such as an Ink Pad app that uses a digitized pen to jot handwritten notes. There is also a piano app, paint program, student flash cards, and a Twitter program. These apps are produced by Microsoft interns. A Metro-style version of the Internet Explorer 10 is also preloaded, featuring a navigation bar that appears only when the user needs it and also informs them if the site has an associated Metro app. Favorite websites can also be “pinned” to the Windows Start screen.

Windows 8 is supposed to work on tablets that run on ARM processors, as well as standard personal computers and laptops. The OS preview features two touch keyboard on the tablet: A full-size QWERTY keyboard with large buttons and a thumb keyboard that splits the onscreen keyboard into two. The test tablet can also be hooked to a wireless physical Bluetooth keyboard. Microsoft also announces that a built-in Windows Store will be included in Windows 8, featuring apps that will be prescreened for viruses.

With the looks of it, Windows 8 shows a lot of promise.

Source: ABC News

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