Windows 8 And Its Incredibly Cool New Touch Interface

So, this is the new Start screen for Windows 8. It looks a lot like Windows Phone Live Tiles. And hey, that looks like an app store.

The whole point of Windows 8, which is just a codename, is to be one OS that'll run on regular computers or on tablets. So Windows 8 will run two kinds of applications: a standard Windows application ("It's Windows. Everything just runs," says Windows chief Steven Sinofsky), and an almost mobile-like app, written in HTML5 and JavaScript, which Microsoft is calling a "new platform". And of course, there's IE10 underpinning those apps.

All apps can be viewed in this tile-based UI, which Josh from TIMN says is, "Very impressive. It looks super fast." You can totally see the Windows Phone influence on the interface, from the tiles to the touch keyboard, which even has a "thumbs" mode. (Sinofsky tells All Things D, "We were clearly influenced ourselves by phones.") The animations and gestures and multitasking are all pretty damn smooth looking, as you can see in this demo video (or, you know, up top).

Better still, it requires fewer resources than Windows 7, which is kind of crazy. Which all sounds great. And sort of what I expected. What sounds (and looks) a little dicey is that the awesome, modern tile UI is basically just a skin over Windows, though totally baked in and part of the OS. The rest of the "classic Windows desktop" is still there, looking underneath, albeit adjusted to be more touch friendly with "fuzzy hit targeting", so regular Windows applications will work with touch or keyboard/mouse. You can't turn either of the experiences off - it's always there. The regular Windows is always underneath the new Live Tile start screen. The Live start screen always is on top of Windows. But the two things together looks like a miscreant experience, even in Microsoft's demo.

The idea of running real, full Windows apps on a tablet (or anywhere) isn't a bad one - in fact, a ubiquitous OS that'll run on any device, perfectly, is amazing in theory - but mixing the two looks kinda gross and weird in practice, so far. Maybe the way Microsoft's gonna translate touch apps to keyboard/mouse and keyboard/mouse apps to touch to achieve this infinite OS will be downright magical in the end. But I'm not seeing this hybrid thing right now, even as impressed as I am by all of the incredibly cool modern interface stuff that's totally designed for tablets. And beyond that, at least when we're talking about tablets, it looks like Windows 8 still has a lot of the rest of the problems that made the current Windows less-than-good as a tablet OS - or it doesn't have the things that makes the other tablets as good as they are. Namely, utter simplicity. This. Is. Windows.

That said, we'll apparently see a lot more in September at Microsoft's Build conference. So I'm still hoping to be blown away as we get deeper inside Windows 8.

Microsoft's official list of new features shown off today:

• Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps. • Live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps. • Fluid, natural switching between running apps. • Convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, so you can really multitask using the capabilities of Windows. • Web-connected and Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC. • Fully touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10

[Microsoft, This Is My Next, All Things D, All Things D]

Republished from Gizmodo


Comments

    At first I didn't know what to think. After watching it for a while, I'm sold on it being effective. It's about time Windows changed its format. Working in an IT environment at a school, something like that would be ingenious for the kids and their laptop programs for sure! It might be a copy of the Apple and Android interfaces but who bloody cares. It looks damn nice and seems like it operates very well.

      Working in an IT environment in a business... that is about the worst possible looking piece of ass I have ever seen.

      I am hoping that start-screen bullshit is kept off of the professional editions. Or at least 100% disable-able.

      Ugh.

    Lets have a good look at what this really is, shall we?

    Its the Windows Phone interface on a PC.
    It is adding an 'app' store to Windows by default.
    It is changing Windows in to some artsy pecice of shit.
    It will not work. It is impractical to have a interface designed for touch screens on a PC. How many people HAVE a touch screen for there PC? I don't think ANYONE dose. Then there is the Desktop setup it self to considerer.

    There is no way anyone who is a Gamer will get this for there Gaming PC, witch is dumb as M$ said the operating system was built on the bases of gaming. It probably was too.... for games like FarmVill.....

    It's different and it's interesting but I'm not too sure about it being a good platform for the PC. I like my wallpapers and skinned gui's. Now if someone can take this layout and give it the look of something like the Crysis 1 menu interface then hell yeah I'd go out and buy two big touchscreen monitors and embrace that shit. Otherwise, give me Windows 7.

    MS seriously WTF?!

    If this is where Windows is going I'll stick to 7 for my multitasking and gaming needs. This kind of interface is never EVER going to fit my requirements as a PC gamer.

    Looks Awesome - The WP7 interface is so slick.

    People need to stop thinking about the minority here - people that know PC's. The Win7 frontend is still there to use...besides as a gamer what is wrong with the games being tiles on your start screen? Besides the OS uses less resources than Win7 - isn't that good for gaming?

    The iOS has been successful because anyone can use it - hopefully this will do a similar thing with desktop PC's. If this means my parents, siblings and in-laws will stop asking for free windows tech-support then I am all in.

      "The iOS has been successful because anyone can use it – hopefully this will do a similar thing with desktop PC’s."

      I'll never understand this mentality. Learning the ins and outs of a standard Windows PC is not difficult at all. Why are people so against having to put in a little bit of effort to get the most out of something? Even when it means you actually get MORE out of it.

      Sure, it sounds good to say "it's so simple that anyone can use it" but to get that result what you actually have to do is remove functionality, remove the consumers ability to do exactly what they want, how they want, when they want.

        It can be difficult to understand this because you are the kind of person that comments on a Kotaku post. An extremely large percentage of people still cannot grasp the concept of a double click, let alone the physical skill required to accurately move and navigate with a mouse. - and they dont want to learn. This is why touch based interfaces have been so successful, they remove the middle man input device.

    I like the idea of it using less resources, but I hate the interface. It looks easy to use and will probably draw in a lot of new users; but people who know how to use computers will prefer the traditional GUI. Microsoft are going to split their own market with this, a ballsy move IMO

    If you can get rid of that starting "app store" screen and launch direct to your desktop then it's a maybe. I don't want my PC to be an iPhone.

    Tiles are so much better than icons...

    That's where he lost me.

    This looks nice for anyone that doesnt use their puter for anything other than browsing the web or looking at photos.
    Everyone else see's a gimmick wrapped in an Iphone.

    I think there needs to be a clear line between apps and programs.
    In my mind apps are little things that show the weather or stocks or maybe displays recent tweets - smart phone kinda stuff.
    But stuff like Word, Photoshop, games - the more deep complex applications are programs and should be treated differently.

    Maybe if they had this tiles thing on one side of the screen for apps and stuff but also have a normal, functional desktop where you can do things like have multiple windows open and drag&drop.

    No matter how much Apple want you to believe it, an ios style interface is not as practical as a normal GUI. Not for experienced computer users anyway.

    Microsoft should call this OS
    Windows TouchPoint 7
    TouchPont - because it supports touch and the Mouse Pointer
    Windows 7 - because the underlying core is still Win 7

    Hence the family
    Windows 7
    Windows TouchPoint 7
    Windows Phone 7

    Microsoft. For the love of God. Please stop this.

    I just moved from Vista to 7 and it's been pissing me off nonstop. The increased stability and compatibility is nice but it seems like everything just takes longer, or can't be done at all. I'm sick of stupid features taking up space. I'm sick of having to wade through menus to do shit every time, instead of before when I could just set up the UI to have everything I needed in front of me. I LOVE the way the menu bar is gone in CERTAIN windows. It's just wonderful. Life is so much easier when I don't have all that functionality at my finger tips, but instead hidden behind area-specific right-click menus.

    I don't want some stupid trendy bullshit app desktop, I want my icons. You know what my desktop is? About 20 links to folders filled with crap. There are no application links because that's not how I use my computer. Some of my friends have links to applications and they open things from there. Everyone has different ways they operate, Win7's been pissing me off because it's less friendly to people who want to do things their own way and this... This just looks like a NIGHTMARE for anyone who would rather be efficient than dick around with pretty trendy tiles.

    So I'm going to stop bitching and just say one thing. Have trendy mode, have a UI that's basically just a shinier WinXP. Choose one at install. Done. The Mac crowd gets their trendy bullshit and people who want to USE A COMPUTER get their raw efficiency. End of story.

    I can see the point of this. The market has never been about the performance end, it's always been productivity. Take, for instance, the recent innovations in CPUs - tacking on a GPU for HTML5 - all about the core user.

    I won't be partaking in this software, because as we've all learned it's never a one size fits all, but this is something M$ needs to stay afloat, and to stop people looking for an alternative to the crap they shovel out (aka win7.)

    As a sales person I couldn't tell you how many end users refuse to go back to windows - I prefer it, since I get my compatibility and flexibility, even if windows 7 seems to be lacking in stability, I'm still an avid user. I can see the pros. The customers I recieve don't, and will never bother. As far as they're concerned, they've just thrown $X at a piece of machinery that needs to work until it dies. Why IS that unreasonable? Not having to format, or defrag, or troubleshoot your computer yearly?

    So long as this OS WORKS, and I don't have to play family PC doctor any more, I'm happy for it to exist, but it's not coming near my hardware.

    On a phone/tablet? Sweet.

    Am I going to teach my parents how to use it? HELL NO. I practically had to force them to learn how to use email as it was...

    All I can say is that I hope that this "feature" can be totally removed at or before install.

    For someone like me, who likes to use PC software because it is more capable than Tablet and phone apps, this all seems like Microsoft screwing the user by chasing after Apple and Google.

    For god's sake, Microsoft, think for yourselves for once in your corporate life.

    It was called Windows for a reason. Where is the windows???

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now