We’re here in Anaheim, California at Microsoft’s BUILD conference. As has become tradition (or at least as much as possible), Microsoft has been holding major developer conferences for their new OSes roughly a year ahead of launch. In 2008 developers and the press got their first in-depth look at Windows 7 at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC), and here in 2011 BUILD is doing much the same for Windows 8.

As it stands Windows 8 is still in its infancy. The build in Microsoft’s demos is 1802, a pre-beta and not feature complete version of the OS. Microsoft needs to balance the need to show off Windows 8 to developers with a need to keep it under wraps until it’s done as to not spook end-users. The result of that is the situation at BUILD, where Microsoft is focusing on finished features while unfinished features are either not in the OS or are going unmentioned. For comparison, at PDC 2008 the Windows 7 interface was not done yet, and Microsoft was using the Windows Vista interface in its place.

Today the show kicks off in earnest with a keynote that begins at the same time as this article went live, followed by some mega-sessions for developers covering the biggest aspects of Windows 8. Yesterday was a pre-show day for press, with Microsoft spending most of the day running the press through a similar series of presentations, focused more on the end-user than developers.

At the conclusion of the press sessions we managed to get some hands on time with a tablet PC development platform running the same build of Windows 8. We haven’t had the chance to give the platform a full working over – not that it would be prudent in its pre-beta state – but we did want to give you a rundown of what Microsoft had to share with us and what we’ve seen so far. Microsoft’s tagline for BUILD is that “Windows 8 changes everything” and while Win8 is not a massive reworking of the Windows kernel, it is a major overhaul of nearly everything else. Certainly based on the pre-beta build on display, you will be using Windows 8 significantly differently from Windows 7.

The big thing with Windows 8 is Metro, which we’ll go more in-depth with in a bit. Microsoft classifies Metro as a style, but in reality Metro is a new version of Windows from the API on up. Metro is the Windows Shell, Metro is an application design paradigm, Metro is a user paradigm, and Metro is the future of Windows application programming. Metro is everywhere – and for ARM it is everything - and it will make (or break) Windows 8.

The Metro UI


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  • A5 - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    They don't even bother to C&D the people who make explicitly LCARS skins for Android, so they would lose horribly if they tried to sue MS. You have to consistently defend your IP to keep it. Reply
  • UMADBRO - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    What are you smoking, and why arent you sharing? Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    "The converse of that is that Metro feels akward and out of place when used with a mouse and keyboard as a laptop/desktop. "

    tell that to a new user who's using a computer for the first time.. they'll love it
  • MacTheSpoon - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Hmm... well, it is just a pre-beta. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it gets the kinks worked out. Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    ...bad enough pc games get basterdized console versions, now they're making their main OS consolized too...

    if this is their new norm, i'm just switching to apple, at least their crap is more stable.
  • sviola - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Then you're also going to be disappointed. THey seem to be moving OS X in the direction of iOS. But you can always install FreeBSD and run prompt only... Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Windows Media center was out before the Xbox and that used nearly the same look. Reply
  • Wellsoul2 - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    "Windows Media center was out before the Xbox and that used nearly the same look. "

    I agree. It's very similar to WMC which makes it usable on my TV with a remote control.

    Sure it's dumbed down and clunky. WMC is very clunky IMHO.

    I really like the idea of using this OS with my HTPC though since it will make it
    easier to use all my programs with a remote control. The article didn't address
    that but the future may also be using your computer hooked to a TV alot of the time.
    For that purpose this is a good beginning.

    I'd be totally happy if I could switch between Metro and Win 7 desktop for the higher
    resolution desktop.
  • ph0tek - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    Apple will do the same eventually. Only difference is Apple will pretend they did it first, as usual.

    Adapt or die.
  • Dug - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - link

    Business users want something like this. Portable, lightweight, easy to use.
    If they can have a full os and run the many apps they are used to without using a dumbed down version like on other tablets, it will be very well received.

    Look how hard companies try to make business apps on an ipad and android platforms. And how many people are using them but wish it to function like a full blown os.

    With this you get the best of both worlds.
    Plus you can easily use a mouse and keyboard when needed. You can't do that on android and ios because there is no mouse cursor.

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