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More hidden features in Windows 8 revealed

We may still be months away from the RTM release of Windows 8, but that has not stopped developers and curious hackers from getting their hands dirty with the various leaked builds of Microsoft's upcoming operating system in the hopes of turning up new, unheard-of features that might eventually debut in its final release. And from the looks of it, it seems that Microsoft has indeed hidden quite a few surprises in Windows 8 which may very well challenge most people's perception of what an operating system should be.

There may still be a long time before the finalized build of Windows 8 will ever see the light of day outside of Microsoft's labs, but as it is always the case with unreleased software, one can always count on the large number of curious users and enterprising hackers to start pouring over leaked builds of Microsoft's upcoming operating system in a bid to find out more about various features which Microsoft has yet to announce publicly. After all, when one has an operating system as ubiquitous as that of Windows, it really goes without saying that any major release will be the subject of intense scrutiny and interest, especially when it has the potential to completely change the way things are usually done in Windows.

As it turns out, some enthuasiasts have managed to get hold of a leaked copy of a new Windows 8 build, Build 7989, and has since proceeded to reverse-engineer certain system files in leaked build; this has resulted in some rather interesting results that seemingly hint at a variety of unannounced features which Microsoft may have in store for Windows 8. For example, one particular code dump suggests that Microsoft may be looking to follow in Apple's footsteps by offering its own App Store for Windows 8, ostensibly to make it easier for users to download popular software applications. However, the code also seems to suggest that Microsoft has got bigger plans in mind for the App Store, as there are references to what appears to be the capability to license and 'unlock' various features in the operating system through it, as shown in the image below. This discovery has led to speculation that Microsoft may decide to do away with the various SKUs introduced for Vista and Windows 7, opting instead to ship a single, bare-bones image with most of the features disabled by default, thus allowing users to purchase and unlock the features of their choice as and when needed.  

Additional code dumps have also unearthed information of two unannounced features that appear to be in line with Microsoft's aims of putting Windows 8 on a wider variety of devices instead of limiting itself to desktop and notebook PCs. The first such feature concerns geo-location, which supposedly allows Microsoft to track a Windows 8-powered machine's location, although how Microsoft intends to implement it without running afoul of privacy issues remains to be seen.

Last but definitely not least, the code dumps also seems to suggest that Windows 8 may come with built-in SMS capabilities. Once again, this makes perfect sense, considering how Microsoft has been attempting to pitch its Windows operating system as being suitable for use on non-PC devices, such as tablets. And with most tablets already being 3G-capable (and are thus able to accept SIM cards), it might not be too much of a stretch to speculate that Windows 8 may even feature built-in calling capabilities to complement its SMS functionality.

Of course, there are bound to be more surprises in store for consumers as Windows 8 passes through each stage of the development process, and suffice to say the features we have described today are probably nothing more than the proverbial iceberg's tip. Still, considering how much Microsoft has managed to achieve at this point of time, we cannot help but feel that the company might just be able to outdo itself when Windows 8 is finally released for retail.

Source: Redmond Pie

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