Windows 8 Features & Release Date
Windows, being one of the most used OS, brings great challenges for Microsoft to keep its users impressed in the next version of Windows.
Although Windows 7 has done exceptionally well since its release, Microsoft has been constantly working to make the next version of Windows a better one by further improving upon the existing features, and have added new impressive Windows 8 features along with a stunning UI.
Microsoft released the early version of Windows 8 on a prototype tablet last week. Those of you who would like to taste and experience the all new Windows 8, you can download the Developer Preview, which is currently in pre-beta version. The developer version shows off the current stage of the OS. It is available for free download, and comes in three different packages:
- (1) 64-bit version – Only the OS
- (2) 32-bit version – Only the OS
- (3) 64-bit version with developer tools
Windows 8 Features
Windows 8 offers a number of new Windows 8 features from its all new UI to Windows App Store and improvised security features. Here’s a list of new features and improvements which will arrive with Windows 8:
Support for both x86 PCs and ARM tablets
Windows 8 is the first edition of Windows which will work on both ARM based tablets and traditional x86 (as well as x32 and x64) PCs based on ARM processors from Intel and AMD.
“Support for ARM-based chipsets, touch, and sensors makes Windows 8 work beautifully on your choice of a full spectrum of devices, such as 10-inch slates with all-day battery life, ultra-lightweight laptops, and powerful all-in-ones with 27-inch high-definition screens,” Microsoft contends, in a Windows 8 Guide distributed with Windows Developer Preview
Windows To Go
The “Windows To Go” seems to be an exciting feature that basically allows Windows 8 to boot from a USB device (called as Live USB), including user’s programs, settings and files. The feature is designed to work with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and on both legacy NIOS and UDFI firmware. However, Microsoft says that a user will not be able to “Hibernate” with this feature.
“Windows To Go is a new feature in Windows 8 that enables enterprise administrators to create USB drives containing complete, managed Windows images that users can use to boot and run Windows on any Windows 7 or Windows 8 capable computer. Windows To Go makes it possible for employees to use a managed device whether they work from home, a client office or in a free seating environment. This session will discuss Windows To Go, its hardware requirements and building compatible and complementary software.”
Another interesting thing about this feature is that, if the USB drive is removed, Windows will automatically freeze, but will continue to operate if the USB drive is inserted back in the next 60 seconds after removal.
To compete with Apple, Windows has confirmed the introduction of a Windows Store, similar to Mac App Store, which allows users to browse through Windows applications, while developers can publish their Metro-style apps on Windows 8 devices.
Few days back, Microsoft gave a strategic view of its app store, and gave a quick demo on how it works. Microsoft revealed that the Windows App Store will be the only place where users can access the Metro-styled apps. Here’s a quick demo that shows how users will be able to buy their apps:
Windows 8 User Interface
Speaking about the UI, Windows 8 certainly has got a mind blowing interactive UI, which has been extensively redesigned to a “Metro-style” design, which shows the most important information to you, embodies simplicity, and gives you full control over it. The UI is designed to provide a fluid and intuitive interaction and navigation with touch, or a mouse and keyboard.
Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President, Windows who stated: “Everything that’s great about Windows 7, is better in Windows 8,” gave a quick hands on look at the Windows 8 user-interface. Here are some of the screenshots she released:
Windows Logon Screen – Unlike the traditional way of entering a password to unlock the screen, Windows 8 can be unlocked by just tapping on the right areas of the screen.
Windows 8 Minimum System Requirements
It is reported that Windows 8 is expected to have the same system requirements as Windows 7, and will run on existing machines that run Windows 7. Here are the following minimum system requirements to run Windows 8:
Processor: 1GHz or faster 32-bit or 64-bit processor
RAM: 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit)
HD Space: 16GB for 32-bit (or 20GB for 64-bit)
Windows 8 & Cloud Computing
It has been reported in the official Microsoft blog that Windows 8 will be tied to Microsoft’s SkyDrive, which will allow users to access their digitally stored data via Windows 8 on their computers, laptops, mobile devices… The industry’s leading cloud computing provider, Rackspace explains exactly how cloud computing works.
Windows 8 Bringing Kinect to Laptops?
Microsoft is also planning to build Kinect sensors into laptops. Prototypes have already been released, and were confirmed to be official. The sensors would be placed where the webcam is currently placed, and there could be an IR LED at the bottom of the screen. If Microsoft techs manage to drive the price of sensors down, it might even become a standard feature. There are also talks of miniaturized Kinect hardware for notebooks.
Windows 8 Release Date
We can expect Windows 8 to be launched sometime in mid-late 2012, however, it’s too early to predict the Windows 8 release date, since it is still under development. Nevertheless, the only question that haunts each and every one of us – Will
Windows 8 Microsoft win the battle against Apple which it had lost several years back?