Microsoft Kicks Off Windows 8 Era with Live Webcast

Paul Lilly

After months of anticipation, sneak peeks, early looks, and even full blown reviews ( including our own ), the era of Windows 8 is finally upon us. Yes, general availability is still several hours away (Windows 8 formally launches on Octobe 26, 2012), but the festivities have already begun, starting with and ad campaign and continuing today with a livestream introducing the touch-friendly OS. You can view the whole below.

Steven Sinofsky, President of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live Division, took to the stage first to talk about Windows 8 and drum up excitement about the PC platform in general. He started off by revealing sales figures for Windows 7, noting that Windows 7 has sold over 670 million licenses to businesses and consumers to date.

"In fact, Windows 7 has seen the fastest adoption of any OS in business ever. As of today, more than half of enterprises have deployed Windows 7," Sinofsky said.

But today's event wasn't about Windows 7, it was about Windows 8 and the future of the Microsoft's operating system. Towards that end, Microsoft is obviously pitching Windows 8 as the best version of Windows ever. Some highlights pointed out during the livestream:

  • Better battery life
  • Faster boot time
  • Smaller memory footprint
  • Compatible with Windows 7 hardware and software
  • 1,240,000,000 hours of testing

Much has been made of the touch interface in Windows 8, and to demonstrate its capabilities, Michael Angiulo, who heads the Windows Client and Ecosystem Team, and Julie Larson-Green, the executive in charge of Windows Program Management, demoed several of the features in Windows 8. Perhaps the most impressive is a claim by Angiulo that upon upgrading his Lenovo X1 Carbon Ultrabook to Window 8, it booted 33 percent faster and used 42 percent less memory than with Windows 7 installed.

You can watch the livestream embedded below or on Microsoft's website , and be sure to tune in later today when Microsoft (10:30am PT / 1:30pm ET) introduces Surface.

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