Windows 8 D9 Event Wrap Up.

  • June 1, 2011 7:57 pm

“The next version of Windows” has now been officially outed! Tonight at the D9 conference in California, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky demoed the new Windows 8. The most notable change (and there are quite a few) is the heavy Windows Phone 7 interface, with the most shocking departure being the death of the traditional start menu. Replacing it are — surprise — Live Tiles. But there’s so much more to Windows 8 than just a new face. Hop inside for the full rundown…

Today’s Demoed Features (Per Microsoft)

• Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps.
• Live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps.
• Fluid, natural switching between running apps.
• Convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, so you can really multitask using the capabilities of Windows.
• Web-connected and Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC.
• Fully touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10


Starting where we left off — as Microsoft has eluded to in the past, Windows 8 has been designed from the ground up to be at home both on the desktop and mobile devices such as tablets with copious amounts of touchscreen support throughout. In fact, there are multiple on screen keyboards — a traditional single keyboard and a split keyboard for landscape scenarios. These new touch friendly windows and tiles of course play into the Metro UI made famous by Windows Phone 7. Besides the completely revamped start menu is a new take on explorer. Think of it a lot like navigating their company’s Zune media player (if Windows Phone 7 isn’t a good enough example) except on a bigger screen.

New UI aside, there are many glaring holes where the traditional explorer and old as dirt Windows UI shows through. Despite a better calibrated software and hardware, the overall experience just doesn’t seem quite as magical as the initial Live Tile screenshots would lead us to believe.


There wasn’t a whole lot said about multimedia outside of a Windows Media Center-like application that organizes music, video, and pictures into the new Live Tile interface. (More in September…)


Social is also getting a huge boost. A new “basket” feature will pull photos into the native Windows 8 photo application. As seen in the image above, services such as Twitter will be easily integrated throughout the OS whether it be a snippet of a web page, widget, etc.

(More in September…)


One of Microsoft’s larges cash cows — Microsoft Office — must be getting some huge attention in Windows 8, right? Wrong. From the onscreen demos presented tonight at least, Microsoft is keeping Office in the same form as you know it now on pre-Windows 8 software. Microsoft stated that “We don’t think people should have to give up things they know to deal with a new form factor.” While such a statement is usually good for backwards support/legacy users. As awesome as Windows 8 is means this is a an unfortunately oversight on Microsoft’s part.

Multiple Devices, One OS

Of course, the greatest example of Microsoft’s hard work is that this is a one OS install. Whether it be tablet, laptop, netbook, or full-blown desktop, Windows 8 will be the same across hardware — even if said hardware doesn’t support touch!


On stage, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher raised some very important questions early on specifically dealing with decisions between developing for touch and traditional keyboard and mouse as well as virus software. Steven, however, clearly wanted to focus more on the UI at this point, though he did say “It’s always a good idea to run virus software.”. On that same note, Walt voiced concerns over Live Tiles becoming cluttered with pre-loaded bloatware that Windows computers have been increasingly crammed full of.

Steve dodged questions regarding boot times as well as ARM support. As for the latter — we know it’s coming as Microsoft has already demoed “un-skinned” versions of Windows 8 running on ARM hardware at previous events.


Microsoft said that they are now aiming for new OS releases every two to three years. With that said, they did confirm that Windows 8 would not be shipping this year. The company is working towards a Milestone build being ready for the September developer conference.

Right now, we’re focused on getting the release done, and the next milestone is the developer conference in September. We’re aiming to keep new Windows builds coming every two the three years. I can tell you it won’t be this fall.

This is easily Microsoft’s best and most forward-thinking work in a long, long time. We can honestly say we’re excited for Windows 8.


Via: Engadget, Engadget, Gizmodo



Author: Mike Norris

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Gadget lover, smartphone collector, and beer connoisseur. I've been writing about gadgets for three years now and loving every minute of it. Outside of the digital landscape, I enjoy being active outdoors. I'm always up for a good conversation, so feel free to drop me a line!