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Windows 8 gets public test drive

posted 29 Feb 2012, 13:22 by Mpelembe   [ updated 29 Feb 2012, 13:22 ]

Microsoft unveils the first widely available test version of Windows 8, giving the public the first chance to try out the slick, new-look operating system it hopes will restore the company's fading tech supremacy.

SPAIN/USA-MICROSOFT WINDOWS 8 - At the World Mobile Congress in Spain, some of the talk is not about phones, but about Microsoft Windows 8, as the public gets its first look at the new operating system.

The software upgrade for personal computers and laptops - looks a lot like Microsoft's software for mobile devices - as the software giant looks to get in on the rising popularity of tablets and smartphones.

David Salamon is senior product manager for Windows Phone.


"One thing that is very, very different about the approach they are taking with Windows 8, first is the design language. They are adapting from Windows 7.5 and they are building a "Metro" design language onto the tablets and the PCs. Secondly, the thing that is going to make it very different from Android tablets and from iPads for example is that Windows 8 is going to be a no compromise solution. It is basically going to be an operating system that is best in breed for tablets, best in breed for PC as well."

Both will use the Metro design just mentioned by Salamon, which uses blocks of tiles that can be moved around the screen or tapped to go straight into an application; a feature people with smartphones and tablets are now used to. The tiles update in real-time for new information like incoming emails and social network notifications. But can be turned off on PCs and laptops.

That's why Microsoft is releasing two versions: one for traditional PCs and laptops, the other for smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft has much to lose with the launch of Windows 8. A preview version can be downloaded starting Wednesday. With the mobile world dominated by Apple and the iPad, Amazon with its Kindle Fire tablet, and Google's Android software; analysts say Windows 8 has to be good and work well right from the start or risk watching a window of opportunity close quickly.

Conway Gittens, Reuters