SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft gave its first preview at the All Things Digital conference of Windows 8, which has gone tile-based and focuses on touch interaction.
Microsoft has 'reimagined' its Windows 8 operating system (OS) for desktop and laptop PCs with a Windows Phone 7 (WP7) style look of tiles. Apparently its upcoming OS will scale touch-only small screen devices to larger screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse.
The tile-based start screen replaces the traditional start menu with the ability to launch applications and scale the view of them to the size of the screen. Like WP7 the tiles are live so they keep up to date with information like weather and news, via the internet.
The demo involved the use of touch gestures only to navigate around and use the system, which has been made for "for a new generation of touch-centric hardware," according to Microsoft.
Even though the interface seems heavily focused on touchscreens, Microsoft insists that "it works equally well with a mouse and keyboard".
Microsoft claims that its next OS for PCs will run on everything from laptops and desktops to tablet devices. We definitely think that the interface will make a welcome replacement for tablets running Windows 7.
Not only will the interface be much easier to use on tablet sized screens but there is also a neat way that the onscreen keyboard is split into two halves to avoid having to stretch for keys in the middle, called "thumbs layout".
We're not sure about using it on a desktop machine with a mouse and keyboard, though. Without testing it out hands-on it's hard to imagine how such a heavy focus on touch interaction will be an improvement to Windows 7. µ
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