Sinofsky shows off Windows 8 at D9

President of Windows Steven Sinofsky demonstrates the next generation of Windows, codenamed Windows 8, at the tech confab in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
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Screenshot of Windows 8
Screenshot of Windows 8 start menu via AllThingsD

Microsoft gave an early demonstration of the new look and capability of the next generation of Windows today at the D9 conference.

President of Windows Steven Sinofsky also gave an early preview even before he took the stage in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., to his conference hosts at the All Things D blog. For now it's called Windows 8, but Sinofsky says that's just a code name.

"We tried with Windows 8 to re-imagine how you work with a PC," Sinofsky said on stage during an interview with D9 host Walt Mossberg.

Microsoft demos Windows 8 for tablets (photos)

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The first noticeable change is the start menu (pictured above), which has been drastically altered to look a lot more like Windows Phone 7. As for other changes, the system requirements for Windows 8 won't be more than what's required for a PC to run Windows 7. It will run on Intel, AMD processors, and ARM chips, something we learned earlier this year. The development platform is based on HTML5 and JavaScript. Any applications created for a touch (tablet) interface can also work with a mouse and keyboard. There's also an option for a split virtual keyboard for typing on a tablet.

He says it will work on laptops, desktops, and tablets, and that everything that worked with Windows 7 will work with the next-generation OS as well. When using existing desktop applications, the interface goes to a very Windows 7-like desktop.

To log in to Windows 8 requires just a swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Applications will be launched from a series of tiles. Included in the the start-up menu tiles is a direct link to a Microsoft Store, which suggests Microsoft will have its own version of an online application store, similar to the Mac App Store.

While Internet Explorer 10 has been redesigned to take advantage of a touch interface for tablets using Windows 8, the Office suite of productivity applications did not get any makeover for the occasion.

As for when it will arrive, Sinofsky told the audience that refreshing Windows "every two or three years is good," but that it would not be ready this fall. That would place its launch sometime next year.

Updated at 4:58 p.m. PT.