A new Microsoft (
) Windows operating system is on the way, and some of its features
mark a bold departure from the look of previous Windows operating
At its BUILD developer conference in Los Angeles, the software
giant rolled out a preview of Windows 8, which can be optimized for
use on tablets and other mobile devices and holds a signficant
visual debt to previous Microsoft products like the mobile Windows
Phone 7 platform and the now-defunct Zune media player.
"We reimagined Windows,"
Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live
Division. "From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8
brings a new range of capabilities without compromise."
In many ways, Microsoft's shifts here resemble some of the changes
made to the
) OSX operating system in the latest update, dubbed "Lion." In both
cases, the emphasis is on integrating new features that maximize
simplicity and ease of use in a touchscreen environment.
The new mobile-oriented mode is called "Metro," and the standard
look and feel of Windows 8 will more closely resemble Windows 7,
creating a sort of double-sided interface. It's a move that the
company has basically been forced to make, given its weakness in
the mobile market. Though the firm founded by Bill Gates was once
dominant in the operating system market, the exploding popularity
of touchscreen smartphones has delivered the advantage to Google (
) and Apple with Android and iOS, respectively.
The research firm Gartner recently
its growth forecast for PC sales (not including tablets) to a
rate of just 3.8 percent for 2011; previously, the estimate was for
9.3 percent growth.
Tablet sales, meanwhile, are projected to surge from just 17.6
million in 2010 to nearly 70 million in 2011 and on to almost 295
million by 2015.