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Windows 8 – Hints of Things to Come

Source: Brennon Slattery – PC Mag

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What does Microsoft have up its wrapper for Windows 8? Details are limited, but cell phones, tablets, the cloud, and even gaming appear to be assuming strongly into Microsoft’s thinking for its next operating system. The company seems to be mixing the best of many of its products and services into once restructured computing experience called Windows 8.

Here are some things about Windows 8 I scrapped from the Web that hint at what we might see in the final release.


1. The UI: One small but expressive, change to Windows 8’s user interface steals a page from Windows Phone 7’s playbook. Windows 8’s welcome/lock screen has the same interface as Microsoft’s smartphone OS.

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2. The Office Ribbon Returns: The context-aware Ribbon, which made a mess of Microsoft’s Office suite, will swap the drop-down menus and toolbar in Windows 8’s Explorer windows, making many more of Windows’ hidden features visibly discoverable. And the Ribbon’s big buttons simply beg to be touched – perfect for a touch screen Windows 8 tablet.

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3. The Cloud: A closer look at the Explorer Ribbon shows two placeholder buttons, Sync and Web Sharing. Microsoft has been spinning to push a lot of its services into the cloud, and that cloud functionality might be excavating deeper into the core OS. The Sync button may work like Windows Live Mesh, which syncs program settings across PCs and enables offline connectivity. Web Sharing may use Windows Live SkyDrive, cloud storage and sharing feature that hands out 25GB for free, integrates with Office, and works just like Dropbox.

4. Xbox integration: The possibilities of Kinect plus Windows 8 are limitless, but we know that Microsoft plans on using proximity detection and facial recognition to start up and unlock PCs. The company also apparently intends to meld the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live to the Internet as a whole, especially for social gaming. Such use of Kinect technology to interact with online buddies, plays PC games, and perhaps do much more could be the future of platform integration.

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5. 128 bits of power: Windows 8 will employ 128-bit architecture, which would represent the next leap in computer performance.

6. Tablet hardware: Dropping the x86 platform, Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8 will operate on the ARM microchip architecture the same tech that powers most of the world’s smart phones and tablets. Conclusion: Microsoft has gotten serious about a tablet, and wants to power it with the upcoming Windows 8.

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