At the D9 Conference on Wednesday, Microsoft gave the public a much deeper look at Windows 8 than it had previously, revealing the company's progress in making a Windows that is scalable to the most popular types of interfaces in addition to the most popular instruction sets.
The result looks a lot like Windows Phone, but it has a lot of the underpinnings of Windows 7.
The live tile interface of Windows Phone has been ported over to Windows, and the "Start Screen" pictured above is the default screen a user will see when his Windows 8 device is active. Like Windows Phone, the live tiles serve as notifications as well as app-launching shortcuts.
Since it's Windows, it naturally supports multitasking. But to accommodate tablet-sized screens, it has a new feature called "snapping." Normally, You can page through your live apps by swiping from left to right, but if you swipe and drag the app, you can have it share the screen with the current app on screen.
Internet Explorer 10 has been designed with touch as the primary interface. Like its most recent predecessors, IE10 is geared toward HTML5 apps, and supports hardware acceleration.
For bigger handheld touchscreens, Microsoft has redesigned the keyboard into a more ergonomic thumb-typing interface.
Windows 8 will support Windows 7 software and the traditional PC filesystem. Therefore, a networked PC or server will be fully accessible by a Windows 8 portable device.
"This isn't just about touch PCs," Julie Larson-Green, corporate vice president, Windows Experience said on Wednesday. "The new Windows experience will ultimately be powered by application and device developers around the world -- one experience across a tremendous variety of PCs. The user interface and new apps will work with or without a keyboard and mouse on a broad range of screen sizes and pixel densities, from small slates to laptops, desktops, all-in-ones, and even classroom-sized displays. Hundreds of millions of PCs will run the new Windows 8 user interface. This breadth of hardware choice is unique to Windows and central to how we see Windows evolving."