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Windows 8 launches at event in NYC

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October 25, 2012

Microsoft's Windows 8 launch presentation in NYC

Microsoft's Windows 8 launch presentation in NYC

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Earlier today, Microsoft held an event in New York to officially launch its new Windows 8 operating system. Just ahead of the 12.01 AM launch time for the new OS, the presentation focused on the improvements made in Windows 8 for a wide range of systems, as well as the paradigm-shifting nature of the release and the importance of the Windows Store for apps.

There were no major surprises during today's presentation. Attendees were given a comprehensive overview of Microsoft's new operating system in a presentation that focused on the versatile and foward-looking nature of Windows 8. The company showed the evolution of the PC, from the pre-internet era all the way to the cloud computing, touch-screen obsessed world of today. Windows 8 was presented as a new chapter for Microsoft and the PC.

The first thing we noticed about the event in NYC today was the significant air time given to Microsoft's various Windows 8 hardware partners. The majority of the presentation showed the new operating system running on a variety of partner hardware, with Redmond's own Surface tablet receiving little attention. This was partly to emphasize both the wide range of hardware form factors available, and that Windows 8 is designed for all PCs, not just those with touchscreens.

The presentation focused on the variety of hardware designed specifically for the new OS

The presentation focused on the variety of hardware designed specifically for the new OS

However, the move also hints at the company's willingness to actively highlight the work of those companies who expressed a sense of alienation at Microsoft's decision to enter the hardware market. The Surface tablet was given its own event later in the day, but its lack of significant mention in the main presentation is of considerable note.

Microsoft was keen to highlight the improvements that Windows 8 offers to existing PCs running Windows 7. The company claims that upgrading to the Windows 8 system has the potential to improve the performance of your existing hardware, with the biggest draw being faster boot times and a cleaner UI. Comparisons were made with the launch of Windows 7 three years ago, with major performance improvements highlighted, such as halved boot-up times and an average of one-second internet connection times.

Windows RT was given a lot of love during the presentation. The team was keen to highlight the advantages that the stripped-down OS has over other mobile platforms. We've seen a lot of the demonstrations before (such as the “right under your thumbs” UI demo), but today Windows RT looked just as smooth, slick and responsive as its competitors. Benefits of the RT OS were also highlighted, most notably the compatibility with a wide range of Windows peripherals right out of the box, such as popular printers.

Apps

Perhaps the most significant part of Microsoft's presentation today was its focus on apps. The stakes couldn't be higher for Redmond in this department. You only have to look at iOS to see how a world class app selection can put an OS on top, and keep it there. Microsoft's Windows 8 store will have the largest selection of apps of any app store at its launch. While this is a fairly promising statistic, it's also clear that it's there to hide the fact that Microsoft's store will be a little light at launch if you're used to Apple or Google's now generous offerings.

The Microsoft Store for apps will launch alongside Windows 8

The Microsoft Store for apps will launch alongside Windows 8

In addition to Hulu, Netflix, Kindle and a host of other big name applications, Microsoft will also be offering a compelling set of in-house apps at launch. In addition to the optional Office 2013 suite, devices will come with a selection of Bing apps. The Finance, Travel, Maps, Weather and Sports applications are all full-screen, aesthetically pleasing additions that provide a lot of functionality right from the off. There's also full Skydrive integration, as well support for Xbox Music, Video and Games. The fully optimized Skype app, revealed earlier this week, was also highlighted, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claiming that it presents “the best Skype experience on any device."

Cross app searches were a key feature of the presentation. This is one particularly cool feature of the new OS, where you can make one unified search that lets you access information from any compatible app via the use of a slide-out menu. You can search for a place of interest on Wikipedia and instantly switch to Bing maps to find out where it is. This is a pretty cool feature, and one that appears to work seamlessly.

Microsoft was also quick to point out that systems running Windows 8 Pro will have full access to all Windows 7-compatible desktop apps. If you look at it that way, then Microsoft is way out ahead of the competition, with untold millions of applications available for download.

Though there were no major surprises during today's event – what Microsoft did present was a clear view of its own future. It's “shunned the incremental” with Windows 8 and created a truly different OS that's touch-first and app-centric.

Only one question remains: will you be upgrading to Windows 8 in the coming days and months, or do you still have your doubts about the operating system's new look and feel?

Source: Microsoft

About the Author
Chris Wood Chris recently graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Politics and Ancient History. Based in the U.K., he has an enthusiasm for technology of all kinds, specializing in mobile tech and games. In his spare time you might find him running, playing music, following NFL (Pats fan) or fueling his ever growing Swiss watch obsession.   All articles by Chris Wood
2 Comments

I purchased 2 copies of Windows 8 Pro (upgrade) early this morning Perth time. One for a family member who lives on the opposite side of the continent and the other obviously for myself.

I'm one of the few it seems, who thought Vista was non-problematic and I basically built the desktop originally around that. When 7 was released I bought into that, again great, also upgraded some of the hardware not because there was any need necessarily but ......

Have for the most part though, since its release, used the 7.5 O/S on the HTC Titan 4G mobile for the last 4 months or so. Very happy, except for the battery life on the unit.

I want total cross platform compatibility via 'the cloud', WiFi, bluetooth, whatever. So when the Nokia Lumia 920 is released early next month finally I will have leading edge productivity tools (all bases covered).

As much as I would like a 'Surface' tablet, for what I do, it is probably unnecessary. Also if I didn't invest a fair chunk of cash into the desktop over the last 4 years, then a tablet absolutely.

Anyway, as I'm using (2 ) Sata11 - 32Gb drives in raid 0 as my system or boot drives. Cleared everything that doesn't need to be there. Windows 8 install however, is telling me I lack space on the 'c' drive(s).

'8' needs 20GB and apparently I don't have it. Sata3 drives are now affordable, but that isn't the point.

Any suggestions?

The Stav
25th October, 2012 @ 07:23 pm PDT

Hey MS fix the bugs in Windows 8 or lose out.

Have enough Web hassles without U adding to them.

Honor the customers & make EZ to use

Stephen N Russell
26th October, 2012 @ 05:29 pm PDT
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