On June 1, Microsoft finally showed off the much anticipated tablet interface for Windows 8, at the D9. Further, at Computex today, Microsoft showed hardware partners the next Windows platform, code-named "Windows 8", to help the vendors build devices that take full advantage of the new user experience.
Mike Angiulo, in picture above showed the flexibility of the new platform by stating how it's optimized for touch-centric hardware -- accessible by Tablets and touch-based computers. Microsoft states:
Our aim with "Windows 8" is to make the user experience a natural extension of the device, from the time you turn on your PC through how you interact with the applications you know and love," Angiulo said. "This represents a fundamental shift in Windows design that we haven't attempted since the days of Windows 95, presenting huge opportunities for our hardware partners to innovate with new PC designs."
This single statement shows that Windows 8 willn't be a simple clone of previous versions of Windows with a few new features and optimization under the hood.
Here's what was shown off at the Computex:
Microsoft claimed that the immersive interface would be primarily used for tablets, they're showing it off on desktop PC's and conventional laptops too. It's not quite clear if that is the default, but its definitely an option. Instead of touch, the page up and down buttons allow you to navigate tiles and left and right to pan, as you would expect.
In the image below, it shows PC's running the immersive UI, all the way down to a tiny tablet.
Microsoft showed that the new "immersive" UI can be run side-by-side by the conventional Windows shell, and the immersive UI is fully optimised for touch. The demo shows off new ways of managing files for touch based devices, but also shows that conventional file management is still available, too. If you look at the second screenshot below, the ribbon UI is enabled there, but slightly hidden.
The demo showed off full USB support, even for ARM based devices, on a Dell device.
IE10 for tablet devices was also shown off, with the company touting tab management that looks almost exactly the same as the Windows Phone platform, and loads impressively fast. Microsoft is continuously emphasizing that the same version of Windows will run on all their devices.
The company reiterated it's SoC (System on a chip) device support in Windows 8, and showed off a tiny Snapdragon chip to show how small the things really are. They also pointed out that all applications that exist on Windows now will run on ARM devices, and showed off a super thin device sporting an nVidia quad-core chip named the "Kal-El."
Pictured below is a tablet device running the same nVidia chipset, able to perform heavy tasks such as HTML5 hardware accelerated support. Pictured below is Microsoft showing the same applications running on two different devices, an ARM based tablet and a desktop PC.
Microsoft also making strict rules on Tablet OEM companies, and this seems to back it up, with the company saying they started engineering the systems with a "closer integration of hardware and software than ever." Sounds like a control process similar to WP7 to us. Tablet hardware requirements are a minimum of 1024x768, but 1366x768 required for "best" experience.
Microsoft pointing out that the exact edge of the device must be a sensor, so the sensitivity begins on the glass bezel for gestures. It's good to see Microsoft pushing OEM's to make good hardware, rather than taking a hands off approach.
Microsoft would show more Windows 8 on "Build" in September.
Check out the video below of Windows 8 in action:
[Source Microsoft Press]