Microsoft's Windows 8 could allow a greater degree of desktop customization, according to the latest in a series of leaked screenshots of a purported early build.
next Windows version could let users customize their desktops in new ways.
Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott, in a series of April postings on Rivera's Within Windows
blog, have dissected various
features of what they call an early build of Windows 8. Many of these features,
should they appear in the operating system's final version, will add new layers
of functionality: a built-in PDF reader, an "immersive" user interface with
Windows Phone 7-style tiles (ideal for touch screens) and an Office-style
ribbon integrated into Windows Explorer-complete with tools for viewing
libraries, manipulating images and managing drive assets.
other parts of the early build suggest Microsoft is thinking of ways to make
Windows 8 a more personalized experience. According to Rivera and Thurrott, the
offers "the ability to automatically configure
the color of Aero elements, like the Start Menu, Windows Explorer windows, and
the taskbar based on the desktop wallpaper." That means if your desktop
wallpaper is predominantly brown, for example, the frames of any open windows
will tint brown, as well.
current rumors prove accurate, Microsoft could release the next version of
Windows-often termed "Windows 8" by media and pundits-sometime in 2012. The
company has made it clear that the upcoming operating system will support SoC
(system-on-a-chip) architecture, in particular ARM-based systems from partners
such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments. In turn, that would give
Microsoft increased leverage for porting Windows onto tablets and other mobile
form factors, currently the prime market for ARM offerings.
Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, suggested during
January's 2011 Consumer Electronics Show that "under the hood there are a ton
of differences that need to be worked through" with regard to SoC-supposed
Windows. Nonetheless, he added, "Windows has proven remarkably flexible at this
under-the-hood sort of stuff."
Windows 8 lock screen uncovered by Rivera and Thurrott, featuring an icon for
portable-device power management, suggests that Microsoft is designing an
operating system capable of running on a multiplicity of devices, from small
tablets all the way up to desktops. There is also the possibility, however
remote, that a version of Windows 8 could find its way onto the company's
smartphones, replacing Windows Phone 7.
the absence of any official comment from Microsoft, though, all that remains
pure conjecture. Certainly Redmond faces rivals intent on porting
their own operating systems onto a variety of hardware
: not only Apple's
iOS, currently available on the company's smartphones and tablets, but also
Hewlett-Packard's webOS, which will appear on both mobile devices and PCs.