SAN JOSE, Calif. – Microsoft has launched a new blog to preview features of Windows 8, billed as the biggest overhaul of the PC operating system since Windows 95. There are no details on the new capabilities of the OS yet, but plenty of promise on how it will extend the Windows franchise into new kinds of mobile, Web and ARM-based systems.
The effort comes as PC growth is slowing amid a rise in mobile systems. Google's Android and Apple's iOS have taken commanding positions in smartphones and tablets. Android has grabbed as much as 48 percent market share in smartphones, and Apple surpassed Nokia as the leading provider of smartphones.
"Windows 8 reimagines Windows for a new generation of computing devices," said Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live group and author of the first blog.
Specifically, Windows 8 will support:
- ARM SoCs expected to include Qualcomm's Snapdragon, Nvidia's Tegra and Texas Instruments' Omap
- Touch screens as well as keyboard/mouse interfaces
- Tablets as well as traditional PC form factors
- A new applications model that lets a single app run on ARM- and x86-based systems
- A new user interface previewed in June
- Compatibility with prior Windows PCs
In a Computex presentation in June, a Microsoft spokesman said Win8 "enables ultraportable computers of any form factor, not just tablets," he said. "It's up to you want the next generation of PCs look like," he said.
In the blog, Sinofsky noted that today more than two out of three PCs are mobile, and nearly all PCs have wireless networking. Screen sizes range from 10-inch to wall-sized screens, storage is exploding and touch-screens have become widespread, he added.
Microsoft said it wants to work more closely with OEMs, chip makers and app developers in the Win8 generation. Readers can send emails from the blog page that go to Sinofsky's inbox. The blog supports seven languages including Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese and Russian.
Microsoft put out no real news on Win8 in the new Building Windows 8 blog aka B8. However, it is expected to release new details at its Build conference in Anaheim in September.