Microsoft shows Windows 8 to hardware makers

The software giant demonstrates its touch-optimized operating system to hardware makers at Asian trade show.

After previewing the next version of Windows for technorati and the media at the D9 conference this afternoon, Microsoft showed off some prototype devices running the forthcoming operating system to give hardware makers some guidelines at the Computex conference in Taiwan.

Windows 8--as Microsoft has codenamed it--has been optimized for touch-screen devices, though it will work on conventional PCs as well. That will require hardware makers to approach designs differently and deal with technical specifications they haven't had to consider previously.

Microsoft's Mike Angiulo at Computex. Microsoft

"This represents a fundamental shift in Windows design that we haven't attempted since the days of Windows 95, presenting huge opportunities for our hardware partners to innovate with new PC designs," Mike Angiulo, corporate vice president of Windows Planning, Hardware and PC Ecosystem at Microsoft, said in a statement.

At Computex, Angiulo demonstrated Windows 8's ability to work on both x86 and ARM-based architectures, something Microsoft announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. In all, Microsoft featured 15 different devices, including Intel-based touch-screen tablets from Lenovo and Asus, and tablets running ARM chipsets from Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Nvidia. They are all prototype devices.

Angiulo talked broadly about onscreen keyboards, screen resolution requirements, and recommendations on bezel sizes. The idea was to get hardware makers thinking about how they'd approach building devices with the new software.

Microsoft is expected to reveal more at its developer conference in Anaheim, Calif., in September.

About the author

Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).

 

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