CNET First Look
A first, rough look at Windows 8Microsoft goes Metro as the company offers developers their first chance to put Windows 8 through its paces. Even at semifunctional, the upcoming OS holds a lot of promise for unifying your devices.
Hi, I'm Seth Rosenblatt for CNET and in my hands I'm holding the Windows 8 developer's preview tablet based on the Samsung 700 T1A, which will apparently be released sometime soon with Windows 7 on it, but Microsoft has told us that all Windows 7 hardware will support Windows 8, and so let's take a quick look at the Windows 8 operating system. When you first put it up, this is the first thing that you're going to see. Its screen is as personalized. I'm going to tap on it. It's gonna give us a touchscreen keyboard, and there are some keyboard options. You can actually go to a split keyboard like that. You can go to a handwriting Stylus mode, although apparently not this time, and so we're going to go to like a keyboard there, and here we are. Here's Windows 8. As you can see, if you're familiar with the Mango interface from Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 is actually quite similar to it. They're calling it Metro, not Mango, and you have tiles instead of icons, and they're grouped together. This is a developer's preview, so a lot of the features that we were showing today at a demonstration in fact did not yet work in this build. We did see them work live, so we know that they're coming. They're not vaporware, but it's a little bit disappointing to get this new piece of hardware with a new operating system and find out it's not quite fully functional. Anyway, some things do work. As you can see here, the NASDAQ and Weather tiles pull in information in real time and we can't have them. And you could see how incredibly fast Windows 8 moves through-- through its tiles and into the information that you're trying to get at. And we're gonna jump into the Stock app, and here you can drill down into more information. It pulls up IE8, and IE8 is quite interesting. If you swipe down, you get your tabs and your tabs are put at the top here and your location bar and navigation buttons here at the bottom. Like the rest of Windows 8, you slide in from the right. You get here features for moving around the tablet itself. We have Search. We have Share. That's a dedicated Share button right here that lets you share whatever it is you're looking at. You can share photos. You can share links. You can share things more as packages than as solitary items, which is quite cool. Start Devices takes you to your devices, and even though this is a tablet, because it's based on Windows, it will connect to peripherals like keyboards, mice, and printers. You can also jump fairly quickly directly into a more traditional interface. You hit the desktop tile and bang, Windows 7 or Windows 8 desktop or traditional. One of the cool security features in Windows 8 that's coming is Create a Picture password. If you type this and you log in, you can then add a picture and draw on it to create a password that uses just the drawing. It accepts lines, circles and dots. So, for example, if you upload a photo of your spouse or your children, you can put 2 dots in their eyes, draw a line connecting them, and that will log you in, which is pretty cool. One of the interesting things about Windows 8 is that Microsoft has told us that they want people to jump smoothly between Metro and the traditional desktop. Some people had thought that perhaps they wanted to be-- they won't want to replace the other, but in fact, things like the Task Manager are only available from the more traditional interface. You can see here that there have been some pretty major changes to it. We're looking at a hit map for things that are using a lot of memory. And you have a Resource Monitor down here. Alright. So, that's our first early look at a very rough version of Windows 8. Personally, I think it's really exciting. I think that the version that they showed us earlier today was a bit more exciting than what we've got here. But I think it bodes well for making Microsoft competitive in an era when there's really quite a lot of mobile competition and dual operating system madness going on. So, for CNET, I'm Seth Rosenblatt, from Anaheim.