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Windows 8 Tries to Capture the Future of Computing

06.29.2010
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Over the weekend, an Italian Windows site "Windowsette" got its hands on some Microsoft power point slides outlining a preliminary roadmap/strategy for Windows 8.  The plethora of slides outline a wealth of possible new features, strategies, and business plans for the next permutation of the world's most widespread operating system.  Microsoft will continue its attempt to implement certain Apple usability features and business strategies, but these slides also show some great original ideas on Microsoft's part.  The slides also include a few nuggets about IE9 and the "Windows Store".

Hardware

While this computer concept might look odd to some, the neat ideas hardware-based features are not.  For example, a built in web cam and sensors would be used to add new types of logins and power saving techniques.  With the camera, Microsoft is hoping to create face recognition software for login.  An infrared proximity sensor could automatically make your computer go to sleep or wake up based on a person's proximity to the computer.  Microsoft also wants to move in the direction of touch screens.

Portable Profiles

Identity management is a major focus in Windows 8 as Microsoft wants to move from a machine-centric model to a user-centric one.  Specifically, Microsoft wants to connect accounts to the cloud so that users could log in with their same account settings and preferences on any Windows 8 machine, Windows device, or certain websites.  Applications and software licenses could potentially roam with the user.

Logoff + Hibernate

Returning to the area of power saving, Microsoft wants to optimize faster startups and off/on experiences in general.  One really innovative feature in this area is a new Logoff+ Hibernate feature that will have the look and feel of a boot/shutdown, but it will be faster with the best Hibernate features.  It may work by caching most of the core system.

The Reset Button

Perhaps the coolest of all the envisioned features is a "Reset Button" that streamlines the pesky task of reinstalling Windows when your computer has been corrupted in some way.  The Reset Button would essentially reinstall windows while maintaining your applications (App store would remember and reinstall), preferences, personal files, etc. without having to back it up. 



Strategy

In the slides, Microsoft breaks down how Apple achieves brand loyalty through its products and explains that the slick user experience and "It just works" quality is a key to success.  Other trends that are shaping the Windows 8 roadmap include the expansion of mobile devices and the connectivity, software/services, and personalized user experiences.  Windows will also focus on providing an OS that feels natural for both business and personal usage, with a seamless experience across both areas.



IE9 and Windows Store
The Windows Store will, as mentioned, keep track of the apps you've downloaded and payed for.  These applications will be reinstallable on any other Windows device with software licenses intact. 



There's a whole slide deck on IE9, but the only real news from that is a possible Beta release date in August.

Comments

Ryan Developer replied on Tue, 2010/06/29 - 10:26pm

I wonder if Windows 8 app store will be fully launched worldwide before the Java FX app store we've been waiting for.  Sure it's available in the US, but I'm not in the US.

I also wonder if Microsoft will allow Java apps in the app store, or if they will make it .NET only like Apple's app store is Objective C only.

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