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Christmas Gift Guide

Windows 8 beta

Windows 8 features tiles

Windows 8 seeks consistency

Dramatic changes

Multiple focus

'Generational change'

Start screen

Pinning people

App shopping

Side by side

App contest winners

Microsoft shows off the first Windows 8 beta--dubbed the "Consumer Preview"--at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Execs repeatedly touted the next operating system as "fast and fluid."
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
Windows 8 features tiles, like those found in Windows Phone.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows business, says the company sought to create a consistent experience across devices.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
According to Microsoft, the Consumer Preview is dramatically different than the Developer Preview, featuring more than 100,000 code changes.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
Microsoft wants to offer consumers a "consistent" experience, regardless of what type of device they are using. The company is doing so by focusing simultaneously on the operating system, apps, and hardware, Sinofsky said.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
Sinofsky called Windows 8 a "generational change" in its design, function, and implementation.

"The last time we made a generational change was Windows 95," Sinofsky said.

Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
A Start screen replaces the Start menu.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
The OS will allow users to "pin" people to the start screen for a constant flow of updates on the individuals they care about.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
Microsoft's app store highlights features a spotlight section that includes top apps, new releases, and recommendations.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
The Metro user interface and the desktop are designed to work side by side in Windows 8.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
Microsoft announced the eight winners of its first app contest. The winning apps will be shipped with Windows 8. They are Air Soccer, CookBook, Elements Weather, FlipSaw, Pew Pew, Physamajig, PuzzleTouch, and SigFig Portfolio.
Caption by / Photo by Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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