Microsoft Previews Windows 8 for Tablets and PCs

Microsoft today officially unveiled its next-generation Windows 8 operating system, detailing how the company has "reimagined" the software to allow a single operating system to run on a variety of systems from tablets to desktops and Intel to ARM. The company's new "Metro" user interface emphasizes touch-centered input and full-screen apps much like the iPad, but also supports full mouse and keyboard input with the familiar underpinnings of earlier Windows versions.

windows 8 tablet
Perhaps most notable for Apple observers is Microsoft's tablet effort with Windows 8, marking yet another significant effort to unseat Apple's iPad from its dominating position atop the tablet market. This is my next offers a hands-on look at Windows 8 running on a prototype Intel-powered tablet device from Samsung, sharing a number of details about the functionality of the operating system. But while Microsoft acknowledges that Windows 8 is a work in progress, the current tablet implementation appears to be a somewhat rough integration of the Metro touch experience with more traditional desktop computing. The report summarizes Windows 8 for tablets as follows:

There’s a lot to digest here, and we’ve barely scraped the surface of Windows 8, so we’re sure our impressions will change over time… much as the OS will hopefully congeal later in the development cycle. If we’re going to be totally honest though, we’d describe Windows 8 right now as incoherent and contradictory. Touch response in the Metro UI is stellar, Contracts sound seriously useful, and snapping apps can make you more productive on a tablet, but whenever you want to get down and dirty with a traditional program, it’s back to the traditional desktop interface. There are two Control Panels, two versions of IE, and core apps are nowhere to be found (i.e. Mail, a camera app, etc.) Meanwhile, if you want to do anything with the desktop interface (save things you’ve actually planted on your desktop) you’ll probably find yourself thrown back to Metro since the traditional Start menu is gone. The whole user experience feels schizophrenic, with users having to jump back and forth between the two paradigms, each of which seem like they might be better off on their own. Still, as the title of the Microsoft show suggests, this is very much a work in progress and the apps and the tools are, well, still being built.

Questions also remain about architecture support, with the Intel-powered tablet running Windows 8 serving as a capable device but missing the benefits of ARM-based systems such as power efficiency. Microsoft promises that ARM support is an important component to the Windows 8 strategy, but the company is not yet able to offer hands-on time with such devices.

Powered by a 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M processor and a 64GB solid state drive, the system is absolutely no slouch on performance — everything from scrolling in the browser to the Start screen is extremely speedy and the system boots incredibly quickly. However, fan noise is very noticeable, as is the heat coming out of the top vent, and a fast boot doesn’t excuse the slow wake-up times compared to ARM-based cellphones and tablets.

It’s for these reasons we were pretty disappointed to see the tablet running on x86 architecture, with only a token gesture to ARM during our session, but VP of Windows Planning Mike Angiulo assured us that the progress on ARM is coming along quite nicely. He maintains they wanted developers to have top-notch hardware that was capable of running multiple instances, and thus went with the Core i5 hardware.

A developer preview version of Windows 8 will be available for download later today.

Top Rated Comments

justinfreid Avatar
129 months ago
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....

If Microsoft ends up shipping a tablet with a fan the whole team that designed the product needs to be fired.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArztMac Avatar
129 months ago
Tablet with a fan... LOL!
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zipster Avatar
129 months ago
I love the idea of live tiles.

Icons are yesterday's way of representing apps.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rwilliams Avatar
129 months ago
Only Microsoft would deliver a tablet and OS that would require a fan and produces a lot of heat.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
troop231 Avatar
129 months ago
Downloading a copy tonight, can't wait :cool:
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nagromme Avatar
129 months ago
One product being all things to all users/devices sounds great!

I don’t expect the reality to be as good as the sound :o But credit to Microsoft for trying some new things, as evidenced by Windows Phone 7. (Unlike so much we’ve seen with Android, Microsoft truly didn’t ape the iPhone!)

I believe that iOS and Mac OS are better products for being separate—and cross-pollinating to share their respective advances. But it’s very unlike Microsoft (or at least Ballmer) to see why that is.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Pro Display XDR Yella

Apple Working on External Display With Built-In A13 Chip

Friday July 23, 2021 9:37 am PDT by
Apple is developing an external display that includes an A13 chip with Neural Engine, according to a new rumor from 9to5Mac. The A13 chip with Neural Engine would presumably serve as an eGPU, though details are light at this time. Having a CPU/GPU built into the external display could help Macs deliver high-resolution graphics without using all the resources of the computer's internal chip....
maxresdefault

Apple Music to Livestream Premiere of Kanye West's New Album 'Donda' on Thursday

Wednesday July 21, 2021 1:49 am PDT by
Apple Music on Thursday will host a global livestream for the premiere of Kanye West's tenth studio album, titled "Donda." The sold-out event will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and Apple Music's livestream will start at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The livestream was revealed in a Beats Studio Buds ad that aired during the NBA Finals. The ad features U.S. track...
airpods 3 gizmochina Feature

AirPods 3 Rumored to Launch Alongside iPhone 13 at Expected September Event

Friday July 23, 2021 12:54 am PDT by
The third-generation AirPods will likely launch at the same event revealing Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup, according to a report from DigiTimes, which makes the claim citing sources familiar with the matter. The report as a whole echoes previous reporting that production of the third-generation AirPods will kickstart in August, meaning a launch shortly after can be easily expected. DigiTi...
idos 2 app ios

Apple to Pull 'iDOS 2' DOS Emulator From App Store

Thursday July 22, 2021 3:22 pm PDT by
iDOS 2, an app designed to allow users to play classic DOS games, will soon be pulled from the App Store, the app's creator said today. According to iDOS developer Chaoji Li, he tried to submit an iDOS update with bug fixes to the App Store, but was told that the update was rejected because it violated the 2.5.2 App Store guideline that says apps cannot install or launch executable code.Durin...
iPad mini pro feature

Next iPad Mini Won't Feature Mini-LED Display, Claims Display Analyst

Friday July 23, 2021 8:07 am PDT by
Yesterday, DigiTimes claimed that the upcoming iPad mini will feature a mini-LED display, but now, display analyst Ross Young is going at odds with that report, claiming that while the updated iPad mini continues to be on track for a release this year, it won't feature a mini-LED display. Young says he "confirmed" with Radiant Opto-Electronics, who DigiTimes claims would provide Apple with...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

AirPods Pro Beta Firmware Now Available

Wednesday July 21, 2021 6:50 am PDT by
Upcoming AirPods Pro firmware updates are now available to Apple Developer Program members as beta versions. AirPods Pro firmware beta one features FaceTime Spatial Audio and Ambient Noise Reduction. Custom Transparency mode, including Conversation Boost, was initially expected to be included in the beta but appears to have been delayed for a later version. Apple made the announcement...
iPad mini pro feature

Next-Generation iPad Mini Will Reportedly Feature a Mini-LED Display

Thursday July 22, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple is widely rumored to be planning a new iPad mini with a significant redesign, including a larger 8.5-inch to 9-inch display with slimmer bezels, a Touch ID power button instead of a home button, a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector, and more. According to a paywalled preview of a DigiTimes report today, the sixth-generation iPad mini will also feature a mini-LED display:BLU...
discount m1 macbook yellow

Deals: Shop Record Low Prices Across Apple's Full MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Lineup (Up to $499 Off)

Friday July 23, 2021 8:23 am PDT by
Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lineup is seeing all-time low discounts across the board today, including the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro, 2020 13-inch MacBook Air, and 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. 13-Inch M1...
ios wifi settings

Apple Confirms iOS 14.7 Fixes WiFi Bug and Many Other Vulnerabilities

Wednesday July 21, 2021 11:38 am PDT by
Following the release of iPadOS 14.7 this morning, Apple has shared details on the security updates that are included in iOS 14.7, iPadOS 14.7, macOS Big Sur 11.5, watchOS 7.6, and tvOS 14.7, all of which came out this week. Notably, Apple's documentation confirms that the iOS 14.7 and iPadOS 14.7 updates address a WiFi-related vulnerability that could impact iOS devices when joining a...
macOS Big Sur Feature Orange

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.5 With Podcast App Updates and Bug Fixes

Wednesday July 21, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.5, the fifth major update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November 2020. macOS Big Sur 11.5 comes two months after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.4. The new ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌‌ 11.5 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. macOS Big Sur...