Windows & Interoperability: Windows 8 Possible Features: Ribbon, Metro, Apps, Cloud Integration
Microsoft may still be plugging away at selling Windows 7 to consumers and the enterprise, but rumors have already started about the next version of the popular operating systemdubbed "Windows 8" by many in the media. Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott, two bloggers with a track record of delving into Microsoft's proprietary code base, recently sparked a fresh round of chatter with a dissection of a supposed Windows 8 early build, adding their voices to a discussion that extends back to 2010. Other Websites and bloggers have suggested Windows 8 will feature everything from increased cloud-services integration to enhanced biometric security, sometimes backing their assertions with slide decks supposedly leaked from inside Microsoft. While the exact form of Windows 8 software remains uncertain, Microsoft has made it clear for months that the next version of the operating system will support SoC (system-on-a-chip) architecture, in particular ARM-based systems from partners such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments. That would give Microsoft increased leverage for porting Windows onto tablets. Could Microsoft be prepping one version of Windows 8 for mobile form factors, and one for desktops and laptops? Or will the company try to walk a tightrope by offering the same version of Windows across multiple devices, albeit with a user interface equally suited for touch screens and traditional keyboard-and-mouse input? Although Microsoft has stayed tight-lipped about a possible release date for the next version of Windows, the online chatter suggests it could make an appearance sometime in late 2012. As such, any OS elements picked apart by the blogosphere could undergo radical changes in the interim. However, the following slides could offer a window (pun intended) into Microsoft's early thinking about its upcoming operating system.