On Thursday, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky — president of the Windows division — gave a few more details on the new Windows 8, specifically about how it will work on the new ARM-based architecture set to be used in Windows tablets.
Windows 8 will feature a new, blocky interface called Metro and access to the new Windows Store, but it’s also notable because it represents Microsoft’s efforts to unify their tablet and PC systems. The tablet piece of the puzzle, called Windows on ARM (or WOA), is supposed to give users a full Windows experience on their smaller screens. It will support Metro apps and is scheduled to go out with the PC version of Windows 8, though Wired reports that it could be a while before manufacturers push WOA devices to market.
WOA tablets will have some notable features, Sinofsky wrote in a company blog. For one, users will never turn off their WOA devices. There’s no sleep mode, just a low-power state Microsoft calls “Connected Standby” that keeps background programs running. Sinofsky compared this to what we already see with mobile phones.
Another aspect of WOA worth noting is that while Windows 8 for PC will be able to run on any Windows 7 PC, WOA won’t have a standard version and will be different for each manufacturer that makes the devices.
In his post, Sinfosky said that he looks forward to seeing how people react to the Consumer Preview, but reminded everyone that Windows 8 and WOA are still works in progress.
“As a reminder, we’re still building Windows 8 and WOA, and there is much work to be done to go from pre-release to release,” he said. “Quality remains our priority. The code is not done.”
In the post, Sinfosky repeated that a consumer preview of Windows 8 will hit by the end of the month, but still gave no specific date. According to reports, however, Microsoft has picked a date to celebrate the release of its consumer preview of Windows 8 and decided on Leap Day, 2012. The company had said that it will release a consumer preview in “late February” and while it hasn’t confirmed that it will release the preview at the same time as the event, Feb. 29 would be as late as it gets.
Computerworld reported that Microsoft has sent an invitation for a Window 8 preview launch event in Barcelona, coinciding with the Mobile World Congress. According to the report, the fete will take place at a Barcelona hotel.
Copies of the Windows 8 developers preview have been out since mid-September, and details about the system have been leaking in a steady stream for months. Among the latest tidbits to come out is the rumored death of the “Start” button from Microsoft’s taskbar. The button, according to The Verge, will be replaced with a hot corner that pulls up the start menu.
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