Microsoft will use this week's BUILD conference to reveal still more details about Windows 8.
plans on offering additional insight into Windows 8 at its BUILD conference
, scheduled to kick off
Sept. 13 in Anaheim, Calif.
As part of
that developer-centric "deep dive" into the operating system, Microsoft
executives will focus on Windows 8's capability to work on a wide variety of
form factors, from desktops to tablets. The company intends Windows 8 to work
equally well ("no compromises" is the official buzz-term batted around with
increasing frequency by Microsoft) with touch and the traditional
keyboard-and-mouse combo. That offers a challenge for the Windows development
team, as it needs to design a platform capable of offering a lightweight,
Web-centric experience alongside one that will appeal to power users. It's sort
of like walking a tightrope in a hurricane, while the tightrope is on fire.
At the very
least, BUILD will give attendees the chance to see how that "no compromises"
pledge works in reality, or at least the realty of an early Windows 8 build.
The operating system is reportedly slated for a 2012 release, although
Microsoft remains squirrely about a more exacting timeframe.
So far, early
glimpses of Windows 8 have largely come courtesy of the official Building
blog, where featured features have included USB 3.0 support,
fast boot times and the ability to run multiple virtualized operating systems
on the same physical machine.
also using that blog to defend some early decisions concerning Windows 8's user
interface, including the "ribbon" mechanism undergirding the updated Windows
Explorer. The ribbon offers tabs and icons in a horizontal or vertical panel.
"We chose the
ribbon mechanism, and to those that find that a flawed choice, there isn't much
we can do other than disagree," Windows and Windows Live president Steven
Sinofsky wrote in a Sept. 2 posting on the blog. "We were certain, and this
proved out, that the dislike of the ribbon is most intense in the audience of
defended the choice of the "Metro" style for Windows 8's overall look as an
opportunity to embrace the new. "We've seen a clear turn where Aero is the past
and Metro is the future," he added. "And with that, a strong desire for the
existing Windows experience to take on a new look or a Metro redesign." The
"Aero" aesthetic informed the look of both Windows Vista and Windows 7, and
emphasized design elements such as translucent panels.
faces a number of challenges. For starters, Windows 7 proved a massive hit,
selling hundreds of millions of licenses since its October 2009 debut.
Convincing businesses and consumers to upgrade so soon could prove a
significant marketing challenge, especially when it comes to traditional
desktops and laptops. Second, Windows 8 represents Microsoft's first
significant foray into the consumer tablet market-where Apple's iPad, and a
growing number of Android devices-are deeply entrenched.
those contexts, Microsoft will certainly do its best to sell Windows 8 at
BUILD. Current rumor suggests the company could give attendees quad-core
tablets loaded with an early build of Windows 8, meaning we could see hands-on
reviews in the near future.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter