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Windows 8: What We Know/Open Mysteries

Microsoft's Build conference, where Windows 8 is planned to be showcased, is just three weeks away. We're already expecting to see a radical shift to a Windows Phone 7-like touch-screen user interface. Also, we may see new form factors emerging with system-on-chip integrations on the ARM platform, as well as x86 SoC designs from AMD and Intel.

In the meantime, Microsoft has dispensed information slowly via its "building Windows 8" blog, and here's what we know so far:

Window 8 will have some backward compatibility with Windows 7-capable hardware. It will have some sort of App Store. USB 3.0 interconnects, enabling data transfers of up to 4.7 Gbps, likely will be seen on Windows 8 machines. That's not much, especially since many expect to see the first public build of Windows 8 in September.

We're left with some mysteries going forward:

  • Why did Microsoft emphasize HTML 5 and JavaScript when building Windows 8 apps?
  • Will Microsoft be able to pull off porting its OS to the ARM platform, which is thought to offer less standardization than x86?
  • Will the touch-enabled UI really work well for complex menu-driven applications such as Microsoft Office?
  • Will Windows 8 provide a sort of universal OS that works across PCs, laptops and mobile devices, and, if so, what happens to Microsoft's Windows Embedded efforts?

What puzzles you about Windows 8 and what have you heard? Tell Doug at dbarney@redmondmag.com.
-By Kurt Mackie

Posted by Kurt Mackie on 08/25/2011 at 1:18 PM


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