There has been a lot of speculation and anticipation surrounding Microsoft’s BUILD conference which started today in Anaheim, California. We can’t be there ourselves, so here’s a link to Winrumor’s liveblog, and be sure t 4: Windows pen and other input options improved.o check out their website for more exciting developments. We’re excited about the new stuff! Are you?
“Delivering Fast Boot Times in Windows 8″. To recognizes that boot time is one of the features most discussed about, and says the Windows division wants your boot to be as fast as possible. It comes as a welcome addition to the information that we’ve been given about Windows 8 – Windows 7 and its predecessors seem like lightyears behind Apple products in terms of booting up. I’m sure that everyone reading this post has encountered long periods of frustration as your computer restarts in what seems like an eternity.
Today, mornig Steven Sinofsky (the president of the Windows Division at Microsoft, as we all know by now) has posted another entry on the “Building Windows 8” blog, centered on the UI of Windows 8 and how the new Metro experience could affect consumers.
There is no doubt that Windows 7 has been a huge success. “Hundreds of millions of people rely on the Windows 7 UI and existing Windows apps and devices every day, and would value (and expect) us to bring forward aspects of that experience to their next PCs.” Sinofsky writes. He recognizes that Windows 7 powers business software, a wide variety of apps that people rely on, and provides a level of precision and control that is necessary for certain tasks. In other words, the desktop experience provides things that you can’t do as easily with a touch-only interface. Sinofsky points out that people don’t want to carry around two devices; those who have embraced tablets also usually own a laptop for those times when they need more precise control or need to use an application that is not/will not be available for use on tablets.
An important goal for Windows 8 he emphasizes is the harmony of the two UIs: one similar to Windows 7, and a Metro interface. The inception of Windows 8, he reveals, began in the summer of 2009, before Windows 7 shipped, and the goal? To completely reimagine Windows and asking some important questions: How do you attract a wide set of developers to a new platform? How can installing and removing applications be made painless and easy? How do you prevent applications from draining battery power? With these questions and more in mind, the building of Windows 8 began.
The bottom line is that Windows 8 brings together all the power and flexibility you have in your PC today with the ability to immerse yourself in a Metro style experience. There are no compromises. You carry on device that does everything you want and need, which is connectable to the peripherals you desire.
What do we think? I personally applaud Mr. Sinofsky; I agree wholeheartedly with his approach. I think we can all agree that no one uses tablets exclusively. Whether at work or at home, you have another PC. For more “heavy” tasks like modeling 3D objects or animating video, we automatically look to our desktop or laptop. Isn’t it peculiar that almost no one writes applications for a tablet on a tablet, while desktop programs are always written on a desktop? The unification of the tablet UI and the desktop experience is a necessary process and one that must be well thought out.
What do you, the readers and customers, think about Microsoft’s approach?
today is a big day for the Windows team. At the BUILD conference we are about to preview Windows 8. There’s a ton to see in the product and so we’d really encourage everyone to check out the available streams on http://buildwindows.com, where we will webcast the keynote. The BUILD conference this week is focused on developers and hardware partners, and there are over 100 sessions (all of which will be available from the link above within about a day of the scheduled presentation time). In that sense it is good to keep in mind that today is the launch of the developer opportunity for Windows, not the launch of a product (and certainly not the launch of new devices).
Many are interested in Windows 8 for ARM processors. Everything we showcased today at BUILD also runs on the ARM-based Windows PCs being created by ARM partners and PC manufacturers. Windows 8 running on ARM will ultimately be available with ARM-based hardware that you can purchase. ARM requires a deeper level of integrated engineering between hardware and software, as each ARM device is unique, and Windows allows this uniqueness to shine through. The new development tools enable you to start today to build Metro style applications that will seamlessly run on x86 (32 and 64 bit) or ARM architectures. Even if you use native C/C++ code, these tools will enable Metro style apps to target specific hardware if you choose. As new PCs become available for testing, PC manufacturers will develop seed programs for developers.
You probably want to try out the preview release—and you can. Starting later tonight you can download the Windows 8 Developer Preview. This includes a 64-bit (x64) build with development tools to build apps, and a 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) build without development tools. The releases also include a suite of sample applications (please note these are merely illustrations of potential apps, not apps that we intend to ship with Windows 8). The ISOs are linked to from http://dev.windows.com.
Upgrade from Windows 7 installation is not supported for pre-release code; only clean installs are supported. Reminder: this is a developer preview release and is not meant for production. It is not a beta release. We will be updating the release with various quality updates and drivers over the coming weeks/months just to exercise our overall update and telemetry mechanisms.
We’ve got a lot more blogging to do. So stay tuned. This blog continues to be a big part of the development process. Now we have a lot more shared context, and so we expect folks commenting on posts to be running the Preview so we share in the context of the release. Let’s keep comments focused on the topic at hand and we’ll pay attention for potential new topics. We know there will be a lot—that comes from reimagining a product used by a billion people!