With the release of Windows 8 widely expected to happen later this year, we have a lot to look forward to. The next version of Microsoft’s operating system is unique for its inclusion of a touch-friendly UI, called Metro, in addition to the classic Windows desktop environment that we have all gotten so used to over the years. Microsoft may have used college interns to develop sample Metro-style apps for the Windows 8 developer preview build, but you can look forward to seeing a number of triple-A third party apps at the time of Window 8’s launch. One such app will be Mozilla’s Firefox web browser.
Last week, a post on the Building Windows 8 blog gave a detailed account of Microsoft’s Windows on ARM (WOA) effort. Seeing as WOA is going to be the first Microsoft product of its kind, it was hardly a surprise to see the said post generate a considerable amount of buzz. According to MS, it aims to deliver a “no-compromise” experience with WOA, one that feels “just like using Windows 8 on x86/64.” Even though the latest blog post by the Windows engineering team also deals with delivering a consistent experience, the context is completely different this time.
Count ViewSonic among the manufacturers who fully intend to build a tablet or two around Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system, though a launch in the U.S. might depend on how many Windows 8 tablets ViewSonic is able to sell in Taiwan. Max Liu, product marketing director of ViewSonic Asia Pacific, reportedly confirmed a Windows 8 tablet is in the company's cards and that it would ship in the second quarter of 2012 at the earliest.
Microsoft first introduced its four-color Windows logo over two decades ago with the launch of Windows 3.0 in May 1990 and it's been waving ever since. It's been altered over the years, with the Redmond software giant adding color gradients, shading, reflections, and other artistry tidbits to maintain a modern flair, but with the launch of Windows 8, the familiar logo might undergo a somewhat radical makeover.
Up until late last week Windows 8 on ARM was a complete mystery. We know the product existed, that it would launch at some point in the future, and it would sport the Metro interface Microsoft has been showing off for almost a year now. The silence on just about everything else had led many to wonder if Microsoft was further behind on the ARM version than they were letting on, but this week they finally opened up the information floodgates. That might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but 9000 words is a bit more than we were expecting. It makes for an interesting read, but let’s be honest here, most of you just want the CliffsNotes right?
Many have claimed that Microsoft’s Windows on Arm efforts were a direct reaction to the iPad, and while I’m sure that’s the motivation these days, it turns out Microsoft had the idea long before the first Apple tablet ever shipped. In a recent post on the building Windows 8 blog, several Windows on Arm details leaked out, along with a pair of photos showing Windows 7 running on an Asus smartphone. Careful examination of the EXIF data shows the pictures were taken on January 22nd 2010, several months before the iPad was released.
So, what do you think about that new Metro interface in Windows 8? If you ask ten geeks that question, you'll end up with ten different answers -- and a lot of them won't be positive. Up until this point, however, we could only base our opinions on blog updates from the Windows team and a far from fully functional Developer Preview build. Prepare to become much better informed soon, though: Microsoft just announced that it will roll out the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on February 29th at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The Start button and accompanying menu are iconic parts of Windows first introduced in Windows 95 over a decade and a half ago, and it looks as though the run will end with Windows 7. Leaked photos of Microsoft's Windows 8 "Consumer Preview" build show a Super Bar without a Start button, whereas in previous versions it showed up with a flat Metro-style makeover.
There's a sort of perfect storm brewing in the PC market that will greatly benefit notebook manufacturers and vendors. If the prevailing theory pans out, notebook shipments in the second half of 2012 could see a huge rise in demand, potentially jumping in proportion from 45 percent in the first half to 55 percent in 2H, or as wide as 40 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
With the Windows 8 Developer Preview having been available for more than four months now, all eyes are on the beta or, as it could end up being called this time, the “consumer preview”. Even though no specific release date has been announced, the beta/consumer preview is scheduled to arrive sometime during February. But what about Windows 8 on ARM? Well, there finally seems to be some good news on that front as well. Hit the jump for more.