Opening up Windows
Microsoft has unveiled a developer preview of its new OS, currently code-named Windows 8.
The final release is not scheduled until 2012, but from today developers will be able to download a preview of the OS along with a package of tools. This is intended to help them build apps for Windows 8. Speaking at the BUILD developers' conference in California, president of Microsoft's Windows division Steven Sinofsky said: "We reimagined Windows. From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise."
The first hints of a Windows 8 launch were back in June, with the release of an official YouTube video. It is designed to be compatible with touch screens and low-power ARM chips used in many tablets, as well as desktop and laptop PCs. It also uses the Metro style layout first used in the Windows Phone 7 OS, with a start screen of live tiles.
Microsoft is keen to stress that Windows 8 is "powered by apps". These full-screen apps can be added to the start screen tiles, can interact with each other, and are supported by the SkyDrive cloud service. Developers will be able to sell the apps they build through the new Windows Store.
theEword's senior developer Adrian Mursec said: "The idea of a cross-platform OS is really exciting, and it seems Microsoft is taking a whole new approach rather than just updating old software. As for the apps idea, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will have the same problems as Apple when it comes to subscriptions, splitting profits with developers, app store guidelines, and the compatibility of languages such as Flash. These bumps take a while to iron out, so developers will probably be very cautious at first."