Enterprise Applications: Windows 8 Offers Internet Explorer 10, Ribbon, Apps Galore
Microsoft's Windows 8 is now available as a Consumer Preview (or beta) to users worldwide. It has been engineered to work on both traditional PCs and tablets, a move that the company hopes will allow it to maintain its lock on traditional desktop and laptop operating systems while also challenging Apple and Google in the mobility arena. A colorful start screen (which relies on Microsoft's Metro design interface) links large tiles to applications; meanwhile, a single click or tap will deliver power users and traditionalists to a more "old-style" Windows desktop. In theory, the combination of lightweight user interface and "no compromises" power will appeal to the broadest possible customer base. Microsoft's recommendations for running the software include a device with a 1GHz (or faster) processor, 1GB RAM (32-bit) or 2GB RAM (64-bit), 16GB available hard-disk space (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit), and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 (Windows Display Driver Model 1.0) or higher driver. While the new design might come as a shock to those users who've never seen Microsoft's Windows Phone (which also relies on tiles linked to applications and Web content), eWEEK found the system generally intuitive in early testing. Once the user flips to the desktop mode, they can rely on more familiar Windows functions and elements. Microsoft hopes that Windows 8 will prove a worthy successor to Windows 7, which sold hundreds of millions of copies in the three years since its release. However, ultimately, it'll be up to tablet and PC users to decide if the upcoming operating system (reportedly due late in 2012) will fulfill all their needs.