June 2, 2011

Microsoft Demos Windows 8 During Conference

Microsoft Corp. showed off its new operating system at the D: All Things Digital conference on Wednesday.

Executives said the "Windows 8" operating system for tablets and personal computers is able to run the full version of Windows.

The operating system is "touch first," which means it responds to finger swipes like other tablets, but will also respond to keyboards and mouses if they are attached.  The home screen consists of various blocks of applications and looks like the Windows Phone interface.

During the demonstration, Microsoft executives showed a starting page that resembles Microsoft's latest phone software, with live "tiles" manipulated by pressing and swiping the screen.

The company said in Palos Verdes that it was "not out of the game" in tablets, a view backed by some in the industry.

"The fact that it's a year or two years after the iPad doesn't really matter. There is already a lot of built-in infrastructure," Adrian Crisan, Sony's director of engineering for VAIO and Mobile of America, told reporters in Taipei on Thursday.

"Today Apple is first on one thing and Microsoft is first for another and, overall, it's going to be a race and whatever customers will like, they will buy."

Executives said more details would be unveiled at its developer's conference in September. 

Steven Sinofsky, head of Microsoft's Windows unit, said the company is working to integrate Internet telephone service Skype into the new system, following its agreement to purchase the company last month.

Julie Larson-Green, corporate vice president of Windows Experience, said in a blog post that Windows 8 is a "reimagining of Windows, from the chip to the interface.

"A Windows 8-based PC is really a new kind of device, one that scales from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse," Larson-Green said.

"Although the new user interface is designed and optimized for touch, it works equally well with a mouse and keyboard," she added.


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