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Windows 8 beta

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."
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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Windows 8 features tiles

Windows 8 features tiles, like those found in Windows Phone.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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Windows 8 seeks consistency

Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows business, says the company sought to create a consistent experience across devices.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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Dramatic changes

According to Microsoft, the Consumer Preview is dramatically different than the Developer Preview, featuring more than 100,000 code changes.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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Multiple focus

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.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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'Generational change'

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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Start screen

A Start screen replaces the Start menu.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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Pinning people

The OS will allow users to "pin" people to the start screen for a constant flow of updates on the individuals they care about.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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App shopping

Microsoft's app store highlights features a spotlight section that includes top apps, new releases, and recommendations.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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Side by side

The Metro user interface and the desktop are designed to work side by side in Windows 8.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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App contest winners

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.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Aloysius Low/CNET Asia
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Up Next

Barcelona prepares for Mobile World Congress (photos)