initial declaration that Windows 8 would run on ARM CPUs and early product demonstrations earned the nascent OS a great deal of attention. Since then, however, the company has remained largely silent on the features and capabilities of the new operating system, even as questions regarding the OS's support for legacy software, its UI, and Microsoft's preferred development frameworks all began to mount. The company has launched a new blog that's
meant to provide additional details, but its still holding its cards close.
Windows 8, according to Steven Sinofsky, "reimagines Windows." The author assures readers that Microsoft is fully committed to supporting the software and experience that's already been shipped around Windows 7, but writes:
so much has changed since Windows 95—the last time Windows was significantly overhauled—when the "desktop" metaphor was established. Today more than two out of three PCs are mobile (laptops, netbooks, notebooks, tablets, slates, convertibles, etc.). Nearly every PC is capable of wireless connectivity. Screen sizes range from under 10" to wall-sized screens and multiple HD screens. Storage has jumped from megabytes to terabytes and has moved up to the cloud. The appearance of touch-screen mobile phones with the rich capabilities they bring, have together changed the way we all view computing. Most of all, computing is much more focused on applications and on people than on the operating system itself or the data. These changes in the landscape motivate the most significant changes to Windows, from the chips to the experience.
The post goes on at some length regarding the goals and focus of the blog, but the meat of the news is encapsulated within the above. Microsoft is still being very careful with what it doesn't
say, but the company's tailored statements continue to imply that Windows 8, for better or worse, will completely overhaul the Windows environment.
Real details will have to wait for Microsoft's BUILD conference next month. Backwards compatibility with Windows 7 and windows application environments is a safe bet--the company won't risk alienating everyone at the same time as it introduces support for a new CPU architecture--but questions about preferred development frameworks and the degree of UI customizability remain unanswered.