This year may be Microsoft's last participation in the Consumer Electronics Show, but according to various sources, the software giant has plans to have their own show, similar to some technology companies. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, at his keynote, talked about Kinect for Windows, voice commands on Xbox, new LTE Windows Phone – Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II, and Windows 8. VR-Zone is at CES to find out more.
A Samsung slate PC seen at the Microsoft demo booth, not from the private session.
VR-Zone was one of the media invited for a closed session on Windows 8 OS demo. Unfortunately, we were told no photos, video and audio recording were allowed at the session. The new operating system was demonstrated on two Samsung tablet-like device on docking stations, and were said to be powered by Intel processors. We managed to find out that the "tablet" is actually a Samsung Series 7 Slate PC that is incorporating the second generation Intel Core i3/i5 processor, up to 128GB SSD, has 400nit LED display, and comes in configurations of Wacom Pen, touch, and with wireless keyboard and mouse. According to a Samsung executive at CES 2012, the Slate PC has been announced few weeks ago, though there's no mention as to the availability of the product (or even the product to be preinstalled with Windows 8).
Chris Flores, director, Windows Group, Microsoft, ran us through the various features of Windows 8 which was designed to provide a whole new way of computing, for users who need portability of the tablet, and power and precision of a PC, and a seamless experience across devices.
Unlike some other lock screens, the new operating system shows your important appointment, as well as unread messages and emails. Swipe upwards will unlock the screen. Like Windows Phone 7, the OS is laid out with various Live Tiles, each representing an application. Depending on the app, pictures will animate and get updated. Navigation is fast, fluid and extremely responsive. In the Windows App Store, you can browse the various apps including games, entertainment, photos etc. You can also go by browse the app category according to Top Paid, Top Free and even Top Rated, as well as access the app details page. According to Flores, the Windows App Store offers trial versions of the applications, which allows users to try before purchasing. Unlike other App store model whereby users have to download a trial version, and if they enjoy using the app, will have to download the full version and delete the trial one, the WIndows App Store makes it a lot easier by turning the trail to a full version. It also save developers the hassle from having to update two versions every time.
Moving on, Flores said that as a user download and install more apps, the Start screen will grow with more Live Tiles and navigation can be made easy by simply pinching with fingers to zoom out. You can also drag and rearrange the tiles accordingly, as well as categorize and group them. For the keyboard and mouse version, there is a clickable area on the lower right of the screen to zoom out. Remember the switching of tasks (shortcut key ALT+Tab)? You can do so now by swiping your finger from, or move your mouse to the left screen. The Windows 8 operating system can do a lot more with no more, or fewer resources required than that of Windows 7. This literally means that if your system can run Windows 7, it will have no problem running the new Windows 8. Flores also mentioned that apps that are available on Windows Store will run unmodified across the tablet device and PCs. However, there will be two different stores for Windows 8 and WIndows Phone 7.
With Windows 8 OS being capable of running on both PC and tablets, it seems that we may see the gap between the two closing up and resulting to a single hybrid device of both a PC and a tablet. This certainly makes sense as it is more convenient carrying one device than two. Lenovo has recently unveiled the IdeaPad Yoga at CES 2012 which is a multimode Ultrabook with 360-degree hinges that can be flipped backward to become a tablet. The 13.3-inch IdeaPad Yoga runs Windows 8 OS and is powered by Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and approximately eight hours of battery life. The concept is brilliant and we foresee other PC and tablet manufacturers would also come up with such hybrid system. Like its previous Windows announcement, we would probably hear more of these in the upcoming months, leading to the official launch of WIndows 8.