Relaxnews rounded up five groundbreaking features in Windows 8, Microsoft's updated operating system, now compatible with tablets, launching Friday, October 26.
1. Tablet support
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at the launch event of Windows 8 operating system in New York, October 25, 2012. Photo: Reuters/UNI
Windows 8 is the first version of the OS to support certain types of tablets: those with a
low-energy consumption ARM processor, such as Microsoft's Surface, as well as a selection of devices from Asus, Lenovo, Dell and Samsung, which will be able to run the alternative version of the new OS, dubbed Windows RT. It could be the first step in a new direction for the Redmond-based company. According to Bill Gates himself, Windows and Windows Phone could be fused into one single platform.
2. An overhauled interface
Windows 8's brand new user interface scrolls horizontally to reveal new dynamic tiles for specific programs, apps, files and shortcuts. It is based on the interface already in use on the Windows Phone. The Start button is gone, and the new environment takes a bit of time to get used to.
3. The Windows Store's grand opening
Microsoft is launching its app store, which was built on the same model as its well established rival, the Mac App Store. Users will be able to download apps designed for Windows 8 that will be seemlessly integrated to the desktop. Fewer than 3,000 apps will be made available at Windows 8's launch, and developers will surely try to gauge the OS's potential before contributing to improve the selection. Microsoft remains rather optimistic on that front, going so far as to announce the figure of 100,000 apps available 90 days after the launch of Windows 8.
4. Internet Explorer 10
The new version of the much maligned browser will launch on the same day as the OS, which will of course carry it. Internet Explorer 10 promises better support with internet standards such as HTML5, CSS3, and touch controls. The browser will host Flash, but it will only work with a restricted list of websites and other special uses, so as not to affect the device's performance or security. Internet Explorer 10 was totally overhauled to support touch controls, just like Windows 8.
5. Xbox Live integration
Xbox Live will be fully integrated to Windows 8. Gamers from around the world will be able to play against each other and compare their performances on leaderboards. They can also download games and DLCs from the platform.