Microsoft is already deep into discussions about Windows 8, according to an alleged internal slide deck leaked online in the past few days. While the company has refused to confirm whether the slides in question are real, they detail potential ideas for a next-generation operating system that include ultra-fast booting, a "Microsoft Store" for downloading apps, and fuller cloud integration.
On June 26, a Website called Microsoft Journal posted what it described as a leaked slide deck, dated April 2010, which described internal discussions about Windows 8 as already well underway; the slides detailed features such as a display that adapts to ambient light for maximum visibility, ultra-fast boot times, and the use of facial recognition for logins. Also mentioned were USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0.
By June 29, Microsoft Journal had disappeared from its Windows Live Spaces host site, replaced by this screen.
However, those wishing to take a look at the Windows 8 deck can navigate over to the blog Microsoft Kitchen, which on June 28 also posted the slides along with commentary; the blog's administrators suggest the leaked data came courtesy of an Italian Windows-enthusiast site called "Windowsette." In addition to reiterating the Microsoft Journal's slides' discussion of features such as facial recognition login, the Microsoft Kitchen slides delve into more interesting details.
Chief among these may be the image of a "Windows 8 Prototype Machine," whose minimalist curves bear a strong resemblance to something created by Apple; the listed features include a touch-screen, infrared proximity sensors, and DirectX GPU. Other slides note an "explosion of form factors," and suggest that slates could be a preferred form-factor for Windows 8.
The cloud is also a prime consideration. "Windows accounts could be connected to the cloud," reads one of the slides, following that up with a bullet point: "Roaming settings and preferences associated with a user between PCs and devices." In conjunction with another slide's bullet point that "Connectivity is assumed" and "Content experience is personal," one can assume that Microsoft-if this information is authentic-is designing its next-generation operating system with an eye towards potential competition from cloud-based browsers such as the upcoming Google Chrome OS.
According to Microsoft Kitchen's June 28 blog posting that accompanies the slide deck, "Microsoft appears to be planning functionality for a reset button that will essentially reinstall Windows while maintaining all of your personal files, applications, settings, etc. without the need for the user to back all of that stuff up." Users would be able to access an online "Windows Store" to download-and re-download-applications to their machine.
Another slide details the upcoming collision between "enterprise and personal worlds." In addition to slates, target devices will include laptops and all-in-ones.
A Microsoft spokesperson indicated that there would probably be no comment from the company regarding the Windows 8 slides.
Rumors about Windows 8 have been swirling since around the release of Windows 7. In November 2009, Microsoft Kitchen published a leaked deck of slides, supposedly shown by Microsoft during that year's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, which suggested the next Windows Server and Windows 8 would be released in 2012.
Around the same time, a number of blogs and Microsoft-centric Websites dredged up the LinkedIn page of Robert Morgan, "senior member of Microsoft's Research & Development team," which stated that his current projects included "128-bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan." Nearly as soon as that page came to light, however, it disappeared from the Web; when reached for comment by eWEEK, Microsoft refused to confirm whether Robert Morgan even existed.