Microsoft’s Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky, took to the stage at All Things Digital’s D9 conference on Wednesday.
Sinofsky unveiled a taste of Windows 8 to the world, devices running Windows 8′s new user interface. Microsoft revealed a number of details of its new interface for Windows 8 to All Things Digital. Windows 8 supports two types of applications, classic desktop Windows apps and HTML5 web apps. Windows 8′s new interface uses Internet Explorer 10 as the heart to power several widget style applications for checking the weather, stocks etc. Microsoft’s new start screen includes easy touch icons to allow users of touch based devices to easily navigate Windows.
“We really did take a step back after Windows 7,” Sinofsky said to All Things Digital. “We were clearly influenced ourselves by phones.” Microsoft has also improved its classic Windows desktop look and feel to enable users to touch it more easily. The company wants classic applications, designed for mice and keyboard input, to work well with touch.
WinRumors has previously written about Microsoft’s Immersive tablet experience. The UI (see screenshots) will be driven by Microsoft’s Metro based design language. Microsoft will include a new application model codenamed “Jupiter” that will allow developers to create web based applications, deployed as AppX packages (.appx). The packages will be part of a new Windows application store, pre-installed with Windows 8.
Sinfosky also revealed that Windows 8 will not require any additional hardware requirements above and beyond Windows 7. The operating system will run on both Intel and ARM chips. The company is calling it Windows 8 for now but considered a number of codenames, including Firestorm. Microsoft is also implementing live tiles inside Windows 8, similar to the company’s Windows Phone 7 operating system. Judging by the demonstration video (embedded below) the interface appears to seamlessly interact with legacy applications. One audience member at D9 asked if the new user interface was simply just “another layer” on top of Windows. Sinofsky explained that it’s always there in the background, “it’s just part of the way that it works,” he said. Sinofsky refused to say when Windows 8 would be available but said “I can tell you it won’t be this fall.”
Microsoft summarized the main elements of its new user interface:
- Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps.
- Live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps.
- Fluid, natural switching between running apps.
- Convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, so you can really multitask using the capabilities of Windows.
- Fully touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10.
Microsoft also announced its new BUILD developer conference, kicking off in September. WinRumors will be live from BUILD to bring you all the latest on Windows 8. It’s an exciting six months ahead so stay tuned.