Steven Sinofky at the BUILD conference talked about the new application runtime environment of Windows 8, appropriately named the Windows RunTime. Shown during a big picture session of BUILD 2011, the graph below gives a simple but detailed rundown of exactly what capabilities it exposes to developers.
The most interesting aspects are the NFC proximity sharing capabilities, "PlayTo" which enables native DLNA streaming for any media source, contracts that encourage greater data portability between applications and SMS which enable an additional communications channel for Windows 8.
Also, near the end of the keynote, the presentation included a slide with hundreds of features that Microsoft claim they "didn't get to show". Here are some of the most interesting nuggets:
- Integrated load balancing - if you have multiple active network connections, Windows 8 will intelligently balance the network traffic between them for performance
- Stereo 3D video and gaming - would suggest native support for stereoscopic display output too
- Easy discover apps that support a language - would suggest Windows Store will allow browsing by language
- Filter apps that are accessible - similar to above, for applications that are accessible
- Start background - there will be the ability to change the Start background (not possible in developer preview)
- Create Live ID in Windows OOBE - users without Live IDs will be able to create one at the Windows setup
- Phone as Smartcard - the ability to use Windows Phone as an authenticator for login?
- Communication over SMS on my PC - the ability to send and receive SMSes?
- Native support for WIMAX and LTE
Since, Windows 8 Developers Preview is now available for download, here are a few simple tips and less-known features to help you master the new Start experience:
- Just start typing with a keyboard in the Start screen to quickly search and launch applications.
- Find additional applications (e.g. accessories generally found in the Start menu) can be found in the application list by clicking on the "Search" charm.
- New shell keyboard shortcuts:
- WIN+Q for application search
- WIN+W for settings search
- WIN+F for files search
- WIN+I for "settings" charm
- WIN+O for rotation lock
- WIN+C to bring up simple "Start menu" and time/date
- Most old shell keyboard shortcuts also work: e.g. WIN+D activates desktop, WIN+R opens "Run", WIN+L locks user. WIN+E opens Explorer.
- In mouse mode, activate the options/charms by moving the mouse to the bottom left edge (where the Windows button used to be).
- In mouse mode, right clicking activates in-app options.
- With a keyboard, you can use the arrow keys and page up/down to select tiles. Enter launches them. The "menu" button (the key with a drop down) selects them.
- Make sure to check the "settings" charm in applications to reveal app-specific settings.
- Enable the "high contrast" mode in Control Panel > Ease of Access to see a dark themed Start screen (above)
At the end of the first day keynote where the Windows team led by Steven Sinofsky announced and demoed the new WinRT platform and tools to develop new Metro-style applications for Windows 8, developers will now have the chance to see their applications live on a prototype Windows 8 slate device.
BUILD attendees gets the Samsung Series 7 Slate PC model 700T1A, pre-loaded with the "developer preview" build of Windows 8 (8012.winmain_win8m3).
The specifications include a 2nd-gen Intel Core i5-2456M 1.6GHz, 4GB DDR3 RAM, Samsung Super PLS 1366×768 11.6&Prime display, 64GB SSD, a set of sensors, USB 3.0, Micro SD slot, HDMI output and an UEFI BIOS among others.
At a retail price of $1,099 for each device, Microsoft is probably giving away around $5 million worth of devices today.
[Thanks, Long Zheng]