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Microsoft partially unveils Windows 8

New generation OS supports both PCs and tablets

Microsoft has unveiled some of its next-generation Windows OS, codenamed Windows 8.
Microsoft has unveiled some of its next-generation Windows OS, codenamed Windows 8.

Microsoft has revealed its next-generation operating system, codenamed Windows 8. The OS will work on both touchscreen tablets and PCs, and builds on Windows 7 for smartphones.

"Windows 8 is a reimagining of Windows, from the chip to the interface. A Windows 8-based PC is really a new kind of device, one that scales from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse," said Julie Larson-Green, corporate vice president, Windows Experience in a blog post.

Windows 8 uses the same tile-based access to and navigation through applications as Windows 7, which replaces the normal start menu. The tile screen is also customisable.

These tiles are live and are designed to show up-to-date information from users' apps, and apps can be moved and resized to the side of the screen to allow multi-tasking.

The new OS features web-connected and web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript, which have full access to the PCs power.

Windows 8 also has hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10.

Despite the changes, some of the Windows standards such as Windows Explorer and Desktop remain the same, as does compatibility with all Windows 7 logo PCs, software and peripherals.

"Although the new user interface is designed and optimised for touch, it works equally well with a mouse and keyboard. Our approach means no compromises - you get to use whatever kind of device you prefer, with peripherals you choose, to run the apps you love. This is sure to inspire a new generation of hardware and software development, improving the experience for PC users around the world," said Larson-Green.

The new Windows 8 user interface and new apps will work with or without a keyboard and mouse on a broad range of screen sizes and pixel densities, according to Microsoft, 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," Larson-Green said.