New Microsoft Blog Sheds Light On Windows 8 Development, Project Goals

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News Posted: Tue, Aug 16 2011 4:20 PM
Microsoft's 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.
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IOlsen replied on Tue, Aug 16 2011 11:12 PM

Ya right, more tailored for us people in general, ya try again. It looks like a phone OS design with arm in mined, this is garbage.

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pdjblum replied on Wed, Aug 17 2011 12:17 AM

I'm with you. I like Windows 7 quite a lot, outside of having to restart with most updates. I have never been interested in mobile stuff, specifically, smart phones and tablets. I don't want a dumbed down experience as the "A" company is right apparently in thinking most people want these days.

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, Aug 17 2011 1:43 AM

I guess the real question is, is this really a "dumbed down" experience that is essentially a port from handsets? Or is it really about ease of navigation and access but complete control if we want it or when requested? Not sure we have enough insight yet to determine this.

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CDeeter replied on Wed, Aug 17 2011 2:31 AM

I'm leaning towards and hoping your second idea is the direction they take. More of a complete new GUI than just another re-skin while maintaining functionality.

I do agree though that I love Windows 7, and have no plans to change until I'm forced to. I just don't see the need for a new OS every couple of years.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Aug 17 2011 8:04 AM

Those statement's are very true Dave. Not that I know exactly what this one will include all together, I am thinking it will be more like a mixture of first an upgrade, second a mixture with server/home server, and third tablet/phone not dumbed down on any device, but adaptive to whatever it is running on and that hardware's capabilities and it's environment. I really hope they are not rushing it to fast and then it turns out like the initial release of Vista with problems in a lot of area's/ ALthough I guess with 7 being solid it won't matter much, I just don't know if Windows 8 is going to be like a Windows ME/Vista release that bob's out of the gate, then when we get Windows XP/7/9 it will be great.

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I am concerned for the business environment where many of the features need to be controlled. I do remember seeing a screenshot at some point that shows a portion of the OS that looked like Windows 7. The other items I am concerned about is that it is being designed for a touch interface and most people are not going to have screens on their laptops or desktop computers with touch capability.

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while it would be nice to have a new UI, the past UI change (vista) was hated by most because it was different. The problem with a UI change is people don't want to learn a new interface. Nothing better then having someone tell you how the UI is better in Win7 then it was in Vista... AHAHAHAH

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3vi1 replied on Sun, Aug 21 2011 1:57 PM

It's going to be Windows 7.1 with a godawful phone interface that is impractical for daily use (people will disable this except on their kids machines). There will probably also shortly be a new number thrown after the words "DirectX" that they'll then say won't be backported to Win7 - to scare the gamers into updating.

The main new feature in 8 is going to be an app store full of overpriced programs bloated with DRM. It'll look something like http://i.imgur.com/ZvsZ0.jpg, without the tens of thousands of free apps. That plus FUD about LibreOffice and patent litigation should keep their customer base locked into that easily for the next six or seven years.

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Joel H replied on Tue, Sep 13 2011 6:47 PM

3vi1,

"It's going to be Windows 7.1 with a godawful phone interface..."

Nope. MS has said (and now demonstrated) that the classic UI is fully available *and* that the new UI is completely keyboard/mouse accessible.

"There will probably be a new number thrown after the words "DirectX"....

Nope.

"they'll then say won't be backported to Win7 - to scare gamers into updating."

You *couldn't* port D3D10 to XP due to fundamental changes in the device driver model and the replacement of GDI by DWM. DX10's visual features may not have been worth the performance hit relative to DX9, but that wasn't Microsoft's fault (and it didn't make DX10 some sort of sham). DX11 is clearly capable of delivering superior visuals to DX9 and can actually improve DX9-level performance in some cases. Trying to claim that DirectX's visual advances are some sort of sham or falsely tied to OS advances is...well, too be blunt, I expect better arguments from you. :P

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