In order to counter Apple, Microsoft launches the latest operating system to offer a familiar experience for 1 billion PC users worldwide
The latest technology will be shown to the public at the BUILD conference in California intended for software developers. Microsoft aims to convince developers to produce applications for its operating system at the conference, which has been its key to success in previous years. However, the company has come under threat from the advent of smartphones and tablets as developers run towards iOS and Android platforms.
Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a research company said, “Without the developers, they won’t have much of a platform.”
However, the conference in California does not mark the public availability of the Windows 8 OS. It is a test version – or beta if you may – of the operating system which is expected to hit the markets by 2012. Microsoft is resilient in proving to the audiences that iPad is not the be-all end-all of the tablet market but more innovation is to come from its side as well.
The main feature of its operating system is the tile-based system popularized by the Windows 7 OS. It defies the small icon-based user interface introduced by Apple and uses real-time tiles for applications that, collectively, act a dashboard.
Developers may get access to a trial version for the Windows 8 later this week while actual devices are expected to hit the stores next year.
The new Microsoft operation system will have two types of UI: a desktop PC one – one which more than 1 billion people in the world are familiar with, and a tiles-based one which can be found on the current Windows smartphones. It will be compatible with PC-based Intel processors as well as the low-end ARM ones used for smartphones.
Windows 8 will also try to integrate PCs and mobile devices by introducing same or similar apps for both platforms.
“The distinction between notebook [PCs] and tablets will blur,” noted Rick Sherlund, software analyst, Nomura Securities in New York.
Microsoft has been wooing hardware providers in order to gain a larger share of the tablet-smartphone market. Mr. Sherlund believes that by introducing state-of-the-art hybrid notebooks with detachable screens the software giant may be able to combine the traditional PC experience with smartphones and tablets effectively.
He also said that along with the above mentioned points the company is also introducing touch-based Office Suite applications. Notebook upgrades to Windows 8 and the latest changes could lift Microsoft’s shares up from the deadlock.
However, combining PC and mobile operating systems could prove to be a problem due to complexities, analysts say.
Mr. Cherry said, “Coming to the party late, they can’t afford another Vista,” criticizing the failed operating system.
He added that Microsoft faces a tough road ahead as this is the first time the company is introducing an operating system that has to run on both type of processors.