What to Expect in Windows 8

In what can be called a dramatic shift in how Windows handles its user experience, Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 will handle two different kinds of applications. The operating system is said to have the ability to run standard programs currently made for Windows 7 as well as Web apps built on HTML5 and JavaScript. The user interface itself has also been modified to be more touch-oriented.

With a swipe of your finger, you may be able to launch Windows programs and navigate through the vast majority of the new Web-based apps. To many, this could be taken as a step in the direction of a future Windows potentially being a cloud-based OS such as Chrome or webOS.

Influenced heavily by its Windows Phone 7 operating system, Windows 8 is expected to feature the same touch-optimized live tile system that will operate in much the same way as it does on smartphones. Microsoft hinted that this interface will likely replace the Start menu that has been a hallmark of the iconic operating system since Windows 95.

Microsoft has also promised that Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript will have access to the full power of the PC, rather that being limited by running within a separate application or process.

At this point, Windows 8 is expected to run on Intel and ARM chips. This information is in addition to a promise that the new OS will not increase the system requirements to run Windows 7. This makes Windows 8 the second OS in a row that hasn’t increased the system requirements since Windows Vista, which was considered a disappointment due in part to its heavy hardware demands.

Is this a step in the right direction? Windows 8 is a dramatic leap towards a more Web-based user experience, and the dramatic changes to the Start menu and move towards a more touch-friendly environment may be a sign of things to come. Could Windows actually compete in the tablet space once more with its operating system built to work with touch from the ground up?