hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Microsoft unveils touch-centric Windows 8 OS

5:00 AM on 06.02.2011 // Samit Sarkar

Windows 8 is coming. Are you ready?

Microsoft debuted its next-generation PC operating system, currently codenamed "Windows 8," at All Things Digital's D9 conference yesterday. The company calls the OS a "reimagining of Windows, from the chip to the interface"; the latter was the focus at D9. Above is a screenshot of the brand-new interface at the center of the OS, a touch-based setup composed of "live tiles" -- as opposed to mere icons -- that takes after Windows Phone 7. A tile can display information, such as a weather forecast or recent tweets, on the "Start screen" (the replacement for the old Start menu) without a user having to open an application.

According to Microsoft, one of the chief design goals with Windows 8 was to create a single scalable operating system that works on devices ranging from small touch-only tablets to laptops or desktop computers with large screens. "It's 'no compromise' and that's really important to us," says Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows team. In this initial demo (which you can view in full here), most of the changes I could see seemed to be geared directly toward touch-centric interfaces. Indeed, Julie Larson-Green, corporate vice president of Windows Experience, explains that "the new user interface is designed and optimized for touch," while promising that "it works equally well with a mouse and keyboard."


To that end, Windows 8 is fronted by the touch-centric Start screen, but retains the classic Windows 7-style Desktop and Explorer underneath for existing Windows applications. (Desktop and Explorer have been updated for touch interfaces with "fuzzy hit targeting," which accounts for the decreased precision offered by a finger as opposed to a mouse.) The OS integrates legacy applications with a new type of program, "Web-connected and Web-powered" apps built in HTML5 and JavaScript, that features heavily in the live tiles. (Note the presence of a large "Store" tile, which all but confirms that Microsoft will sell these apps directly to consumers. I bet you can't wait to play Angry Birds on your beefy gaming rig.) There's a rather jarring disconnect between the fancy-pants new Start screen and the old-school Desktop, but I suppose that you can't just do away with decades of Windows applications (and the familiarity that users have with them).

Just as Windows 7 was able to run on less powerful machines than Windows Vista needed, Windows 8 will have even less stringent system requirements than Windows 7. That's pretty remarkable in and of itself, but it's even more impressive when you watch the demo and see just how fast and responsive Windows 8 looks, especially when flicking through applications. It's worth noting that the Start screen is the most sweeping interface revision that Windows has seen since the jump from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 over a decade and a half ago. Whether it will be as successful remains to be seen.


Of course, the features that Microsoft showed off yesterday are just a few of the changes coming in Windows 8, and the company is promising a much bigger reveal at its mid-September developer conference, Build. When pressed for a release date, Sinofsky wouldn't even confirm a 2012 launch, only saying that the OS won't be out this fall.

I'm assuming most of you aren't reading this article on a touch-capable PC or tablet, so from what you've seen of Windows 8 so far, is it something that you're immediately apprehensive of, relatively indifferent to, or excited about? Hit the comments and let us know!

Exclusive: Making Sense of Our First Look at Windows 8 [All Things Digital]
Microsoft’s Windows 8 Demo From D9 (Video) [All Things Digital]
Previewing ‘Windows 8’ [Microsoft]
Building "Windows 8" - Video #1 [Microsoft's YouTube channel]

Samit Sarkar,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

DeNA boss says that the Nintendo mobile games are coming soon. Hurry up and reveal the damn thing so I can know if I should be excited, interested, or disappointed?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
There's a tumor going around the Episode II of Zeldas is getting a remaster. Meanwhile, Link's Awakening 3D would have been appreciated much more. [img][/img]
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I was playing MGSV, doing a Mine Clearing Side Op and saw a bear. I pelted it with tranq bullets, few seconds later it ran into a mine and blew up, alerting the enemies in the process. Holy shit I love this game.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Nintendo giveth, and Nintendo taketh away. Now coming next Thursday!
gajknight avatargajknight
The wait for Dragon Quest Heroes is killing me. AR challenges in Arkham Knight do not fill the void! Not even Cat-woman's nice butt can fill the void. These 3 days will be a trial. :(
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
A client tipped me $50 today at a job site, which lead to me only spending $10 + tax for Dragon Quest Heroes. Slime time baby.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Glory to The Many. The Many sings to us.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Daily VGM #22 (Witcher 2) - Pam Pa Ram (The Witcher 3) [youtube][/youtube] Instant classic 10/10. It's a travesty it wasn't included in the soundtrack. Maybe CDPR is preparing for a special second disc release? I sure hope
Oh, look at that, the rough draft I choose not to delete of this paper I need to do! I can keep adding to that instead of starting over and getting frustrated and quitting. What a novel concept!
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Boys & Girls Whatcha doing ? Have you watched Shimoneta ? GO SEE IT [img][/img]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
And speaking of Yo-Kai Watch, it sounds like the demo's out!
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Hello, Thomas. I see you're looking at our fine selection of quickposts. Do they please you?
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Overwatch Beta livestreaming Thursday. All aboard the AWESOME train. CHOO! CHOO!
PSISomething avatarPSISomething
EXTREMELY SPOOPY TRAILER [youtube][/youtube]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I'm coming to realize my time off from blogging has made the progress I made at being succinct fade away into nothingness, as the world will see in about an hour. I also made Valkyrie Drive's boobs even more boring at Japanator last night! Somehow.
Apparently, Kero Blaster got an update... Neat.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
[url=""]Deus Ex: Revision is now a thing that's on Steam for free [img][/img][/url]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Wasteland 2 DC is out!
Torchman avatarTorchman
Just a reminder: If you game doesn't have a dancing murderer, or a dancing little girl, your not a GOTY contender.
Rudorlf avatarRudorlf
Season 2 of Fargo is out, and of course Fargo isn't Fargo without dumbass criminals, tragedy and black comedy mixed into one package. BTW, the Organic Mechanic is in this season.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -