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Take a sneak peak as Microsoft previews Windows 8

Screenshot_startScreen_page Microsoft has pulled the wraps off its next-generation operating system that is designed to be tablet-friendly – and ready to stem the tide of users ditching desktops for tablets.

The new version of the company’s operating system is designed to be the first “full” touchscreen version of Windows. What exactly does that mean?

Take the Metro interface for example (pictured above). I’m not entirely sure why they called it Metro – since it’s not busy like a metropolis nor does it seem grungy and underground like a the subway in Montreal.

In fact, it appears to be quite the opposite – a clean, open, simple yet basic interface. Shortcuts to apps, social media updates and updated mini-feeds (ie. weather) appear as large tiles that span from left to right.

On a traditional desktop or laptop screen, that might appear to be a waste of screen real estate. Why on earth would I need large 2x4-inch box as a link to IE on my 21-inch computer screen?

Most users aren’t learning to use a mouse for the first time. Not being able to click a box that big is like not being able to land a Cessna propeller plane at London Heathrow Airport.

But it makes things a heck of a lot easier to tap large tiles with your fingers – precisely why they appear to be moving to this gorgeous tile-esque interface which is also found on their Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system.

The preview of Windows 8 was shown to more than 5,000 developers who make programs. Those are just some of developers who will be able to take advantage of another Windows 8 feature – apps like the ones you would download on an iPad.

You can see the direction Microsoft is going with Windows 8 - toward tablet-style computing. It’s the direction they’ll need to take as users ditch powerful, comfortable desktops for power-sipping tablets.

PS - Download a developer preview version of Windows 8 here. Just don't ask for help when it breaks. 

What feature would you like to see in Windows 8? 

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets




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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.