Microsoft: Windows 8 is the biggest shift in design since Win 95

It has been a busy few days for Microsoft. On June 1, they finally showed off the much anticipated tablet interface for Windows 8, but that doesn't mean the Windows 8 information from Microsoft is letting up any time soon. At Computex today, Microsoft showed hardware partners the next Windows platform, code-named "Windows 8", to help the vendors build devices that take full advantage of the new user experience.

Mike Angiulo, seen above, showed the flexibility of the new platform by stating how it is optimized for touch-centric hardware. Tablets were specifically mentioned, but it could also be presumed that touch based computers from HP and other manufacturers could take advantage of the new UI. Microsoft states:

Our aim with ‘Windows 8’ is to make the user experience a natural extension of the device, from the time you turn on your PC through how you interact with the applications you know and love,” Angiulo said. “This represents a fundamental shift in Windows design that we haven’t attempted since the days of Windows 95, presenting huge opportunities for our hardware partners to innovate with new PC designs. ”

Microsoft also stated that this shift in design is their biggest attempt since Windows 95. This single statement shows that Windows 8 will not be a simple clone of previous versions of Windows with a few new features and optimization under the hood. 

While we have yet to get our hands on the new interface, specifically in tablet form, the video released yesterday does show a lot to be desired. The new UI appears to be a blend of the Windows Phone platform, a little bit of classic Windows, and a bunch of new innovations that will create an impressive tablet experience.

Image Credit: Microsoft

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MulletRobZ said,
Seriously, Microsoft needs to stop saying "biggest change since Windows 95". They've said that about 98, XP, and even Vista!

Well atleast from the standpoint of how you interact with the device they are right. Changing from 3.1 to 95 was a major shift, thanks to the taskbar and the desktop. After that they refined it e.g. with Quickstart and the new Superbar. But now they are taking Windows in a somewhat completely different direction…

thats really true.. in my opoinion windows is important to be diferent then eatrlly version of windows. of course is good to work with familiar system bet now a days people haveing fun with theyr device and we want something new everytime

Is this maybe what Ballmer was alluding to when he said Windows8 would be MS's most riskiest product yet?

People need to remember why the standard desktop is also getting improvements. This new UI isn't go to be the forefront of new desktops and laptops (unless they are touchscreen based). The UI and gestures wouldn't work well with a mouse or keyboard, this is just something that runs alongside if you want to switch to it.

This new interface kind of reminds me of Windows Media Center.
One is a UI for TV and another is a touch-centric UI.

No TV output, not much use of Media Center.
No touch monitor, not much use of tablet UI.

Well, thats just my thinking.
But its still good to have a choice and the tablet UI is much more then the Media Center.

For now Windows 7 is fine for me.
Somehow I suppose people will try to replicate it on Windows 7 too when the time comes.

iron2000 said,
This new interface kind of reminds me of Windows Media Center.
One is a UI for TV and another is a touch-centric UI.

No TV output, not much use of Media Center.
No touch monitor, not much use of tablet UI.

Well, thats just my thinking.
But its still good to have a choice and the tablet UI is much more then the Media Center.

For now Windows 7 is fine for me.
Somehow I suppose people will try to replicate it on Windows 7 too when the time comes.

Whatever we get, you can guarantee the all the style builders will be reforming it soon enough.

iron2000 said,
This new interface kind of reminds me of Windows Media Center.
No TV output, not much use of Media Center.

Well technically Media Center could be considered a precurser to Metro UI. Funny sidenote: About 2 years ago - before the "Metro craze" broke out - I thought that WMC actually could be extended to a decent touch UI for a Slate… BTW. I'm using WMC regularly on my PC with no TV output

Another example of a company that tries to create a "one size fits all" product--and fails when the concept fails. The business landscape is littered with failures--some companies manage to recover other fail. Trying to combine tablet mechanics and UI thinking with desktop/laptop mechanics and UI thinking just won't work. They are two entirely different ways of working.

TsarNikky said,
Trying to combine tablet mechanics and UI thinking with desktop/laptop mechanics and UI thinking just won't work. They are two entirely different ways of working.

If you look at the videos you'll notice the "classic" style desktop is still there...

Neo003 said,
Does anyone think that this is only windows 7 just media center added to startup.

No, and if you had looked even the slighted on the videos and pictures neither would you, that UI is very different from Media Center. Add to that that there have been improvements made to explorer too...

Wonder what about new rumored 3D desktop interface? Still planned, or MS dropped any works on desktop interfaces and fully focused on touches?

coth said,
Wonder what about new rumored 3D desktop interface? Still planned, or MS dropped any works on desktop interfaces and fully focused on touches?

That "Wind" thing was a baseless rumor from someone who wanted attention.

I wish Microsoft had some sort of discount for customers that purchased previous copies of Windows.. I just paid nearly $200 for Windows 7 when it was released damnit!

sava700 said,
I wish Microsoft had some sort of discount for customers that purchased previous copies of Windows.. I just paid nearly $200 for Windows 7 when it was released damnit!

It's called "Upgrade" pricing.

I'm very glad they'll be leaving the traditional desktop in there. Because that's all I'll be using. The Metro UI looks okay for tablets but it'll probably be complete **** on anything non-touch based.

MS Lose32 said,
I'm very glad they'll be leaving the traditional desktop in there. Because that's all I'll be using. The Metro UI looks okay for tablets but it'll probably be complete **** on anything non-touch based.

Well Media Center is not garbage without touch, but on the other hand there's not that much you can do in Media Center apart from selecting media…

As a developer, I find the news that they're building the new UI on top of HTML5 and JS to be very, very concerning. HTML and Javascript are the lowest common denominator tools that we web devs are forced to use so that our code can run on any platform - it's not a good development experience, and it's not a framework that I use by choice.

Historically, Windows has always had the advantage in the developer experience department. If in Windows 8 we use HTML5 and Javascript, why would I choose to develop for Windows? I'd rather use the horribly ill-conceived Objective-C.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but if this is truly the direction of Microsoft, I could very well be jumping ship to Apple sometime next year...

JonathanMarston said,
As a developer, I find the news that they're building the new UI on top of HTML5 and JS to be very, very concerning. HTML and Javascript are the lowest common denominator tools that we web devs are forced to use so that our code can run on any platform - it's not a good development experience, and it's not a framework that I use by choice.

Historically, Windows has always had the advantage in the developer experience department. If in Windows 8 we use HTML5 and Javascript, why would I choose to develop for Windows? I'd rather use the horribly ill-conceived Objective-C.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but if this is truly the direction of Microsoft, I could very well be jumping ship to Apple sometime next year...

I'll bet that MS is not dropping (and instead will be enhancing support for) XAML based .NET applications (basically Silverlight/WPF)

JonathanMarston said,
As a developer, I find the news that they're building the new UI on top of HTML5 and JS to be very, very concerning. HTML and Javascript are the lowest common denominator tools that we web devs are forced to use so that our code can run on any platform - it's not a good development experience, and it's not a framework that I use by choice.

Historically, Windows has always had the advantage in the developer experience department. If in Windows 8 we use HTML5 and Javascript, why would I choose to develop for Windows? I'd rather use the horribly ill-conceived Objective-C.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but if this is truly the direction of Microsoft, I could very well be jumping ship to Apple sometime next year...

I very highly doubt that you'll have to use HTML5/JS for everything. Even MS knows it's next to impossible to code Office or Photoshop in JavaScript.

MS Lose32 said,
I very highly doubt that you'll have to use HTML5/JS for everything. Even MS knows it's next to impossible to code Office or Photoshop in JavaScript.

If they suddenly forced everything to be HTML/Javascript only wouldn't you lose backwards comptability with about 99.9% of professional programsmade for Windows?

F_C said,

If they suddenly forced everything to be HTML/Javascript only wouldn't you lose backwards comptability with about 99.9% of professional programsmade for Windows?

1. Yes they would loose everything.
2. They won't do it! They are steadily moving towards .NET in every possible way, they won't abbandon this technology!

Looks really great for touch devices but I don't think I'll be using the Metro style interface on my desktop.

A very bold move by Microsoft though which they had to make.

I can see touch devices becoming mainstream with desktops + traditional laptops being used by power users.

1uk3 said,
Looks really great for touch devices but I don't think I'll be using the Metro style interface on my desktop.

You aren't supposed to unless you have a touch enabled display on your desktop or laptop. If you don't, you certainly have the option to use the touch interface, but you definitely don't have to.

wixostrix said,

You aren't supposed to unless you have a touch enabled display on your desktop or laptop.

Think Kinect for the large monitor or multiple monitor desktop layouts...

LaP said,
As long as they are not going metro style i'm looking forward to it.

This new interface heavily utilises Metro. . . .

DrunkenBeard said,

You might want to sit down for this...

Yea the entire OS is metro now. Thankfully I love the Metro UI and have been waiting for a full desktop OS to use Metro

LaP said,
As long as they are not going metro style i'm looking forward to it.

I <3 how there's no apathy about metro. There's either the 90% of people who are excited about it, or the 10% of people who are spitting and frothing in rage at the mere suggestion of having their senses assaulted by the abominable threat to all things form and function that is Metro UI. Also, it was responsible for killing their childhood pet.

Srsly, look at any thread about Metro, and it's a combination of "I can't wait to try it!" and "WTF MORE METRO UGH I'M SWITCHING TO MAC/UBUNTU".

Joshie said,

I <3 how there's no apathy about metro.

There are still people (programmers mainly it seems) who continually regress their desktops back to the Windows 2000 look and feel whenever they upgrade. 8P

Fortunately, MS allows its customers to do this.

I can't wait for the OEMs to take my money =)

Anyway, this is what people are missing. They think, "oh this is just Windows 7 with a touch friendly shell'. NO IT IS NOT! This is built form the ground up. No you can't turn off the classic UI, but you won't have to go to it unless you want to run apps that are not optimized for touch or you want to do something that you couldn't even do on other tablets.

Not to mention, this stuff has nothing to do with all the cloud integration and everything we have yet to find out about Windows 8

wixostrix said,
No you can't turn off the classic UI, but you won't have to go to it unless you want to run apps that are not optimized for touch or you want to do something that you couldn't even do on other tablets.
Lol. Which is like 90% of apps.

MS Lose32 said,
Lol. Which is like 90% of apps.

More like 99.99999999999. You can't expect an OS that's not even in beta to have any apps.

wixostrix said,
I can't wait for the OEMs to take my money =)

Anyway, this is what people are missing. They think, "oh this is just Windows 7 with a touch friendly shell'. NO IT IS NOT! This is built form the ground up. No you can't turn off the classic UI, but you won't have to go to it unless you want to run apps that are not optimized for touch or you want to do something that you couldn't even do on other tablets.

Not to mention, this stuff has nothing to do with all the cloud integration and everything we have yet to find out about Windows 8

"built from the ground up"? it pretty much IS windows 7 with a tablet UI on top. though of course you can say the tablet UI is built from the ground up

Julius Caro said,

"built from the ground up"? it pretty much IS windows 7 with a tablet UI on top. though of course you can say the tablet UI is built from the ground up

That's what I meant. But it isn't just a tablet UI on top of Windows, it is Windows itself. It's no more of a shell than Windows Explorer. It's not an app running, it is the Windows 8 UI. You don't have to use that portion of the UI but it will always be there (except for low resolution displays like on old netbook. they wont be able to access the UI at all, officially)

Microsoft needed to do something to shack things up and good possibility this time they just might succeed. If you look at OS x Lion right now it also moving in the direction touch. It is heavily influenced by iOS. I would say apple at some point in the future is going to merge the 2 OSs.

Melfster said,
Microsoft needed to do something to shack things up and good possibility this time they just might succeed. If you look at OS x Lion right now it also moving in the direction touch. It is heavily influenced by iOS. I would say apple at some point in the future is going to merge the 2 OSs.

Well, Lion get more gestures that's true, but this far Apple stands pretty firm in the belief that a toucscreen is great on phones and tablets/slates, it however isnt on a laptop or desktop, on the later two the touch input will probably stay in the form of a touchpad for a while...

As for merging the OSes, they don't really need too, they are already the same OS in the core, they are just using different shells so to speak so a full merge might not be needed, that said, I expect iOS to gain more advanced features such as filesystem access with time.

Leonick said,
As for merging the OSes, they don't really need too, they are already the same OS in the core…

Are they really exactly the same? Btw. the same or not doesn't matter as the OS doesn't matter if you're using .NET. Microsoft could decide to base Mango on NT and you wouldn't notice it at all…

MFH said,

Are they really exactly the same? Btw. the same or not doesn't matter as the OS doesn't matter if you're using .NET. Microsoft could decide to base Mango on NT and you wouldn't notice it at all…

+1 and I really look forward to seeing what changed to .NET Windows 8 brings...

This just reaffirms my belief that Windows 8 is the next Longhorn - they were saying the same exact thing about it. This also reaffirms my belief that there's a chance of a dev reset resulting in a horrible OS, just like Longhorn's dev reset, which resulted in Vista...

EDIT: Of course, the speculation that Protogon is WinFS might be a pretty good point for my... point...

Sinofsky is about as boringly reliable a manager as they come. Windows 8 will ship on time, feature complete, relatively bug-free.

Oh, and protogon is not WinFS in any way, shape or form. Quit that pipe dream.

MASTER260 said,
This just reaffirms my belief that Windows 8 is the next Longhorn - they were saying the same exact thing about it. This also reaffirms my belief that there's a chance of a dev reset resulting in a horrible OS, just like Longhorn's dev reset, which resulted in Vista...

EDIT: Of course, the speculation that Protogon is WinFS might be a pretty good point for my... point...

Why not wait until it's out and you've actually tried it before declaring that it's the next Longhorn. Just because Microsoft have shown off a new interface it doesn't mean you have to use it, the regular Windows interface is still there.

The Longhorn dev reset was because too many new features were being integrated haphazardly and the Windows development team were losing focus. If it wasn't for Vista we wouldn't have Windows 7, that's what people forget.

You do know what WinFS was, don't you? It was a database that sat on top of NTFS and Protogon, while it seems to have a bit in common with WinFS, it's a completely new file system.

neo158 said,

Why not wait until it's out and you've actually tried it before declaring that it's the next Longhorn. Just because Microsoft have shown off a new interface it doesn't mean you have to use it, the regular Windows interface is still there.

The Longhorn dev reset was because too many new features were being integrated haphazardly and the Windows development team were losing focus. If it wasn't for Vista we wouldn't have Windows 7, that's what people forget.

You do know what WinFS was, don't you? It was a database that sat on top of NTFS and Protogon, while it seems to have a bit in common with WinFS, it's a completely new file system.


Um, I don't think Windows 8 is the next Longhorn just because, "Oh, it has a cool interface." Also, yes, I know WinFS wasn't a file system, but it was long before it was known as WinFS. Remember OFS?

MASTER260 said,
This just reaffirms my belief that Windows 8 is the next Longhorn - they were saying the same exact thing about it. This also reaffirms my belief that there's a chance of a dev reset resulting in a horrible OS, just like Longhorn's dev reset, which resulted in Vista...

EDIT: Of course, the speculation that Protogon is WinFS might be a pretty good point for my... point...

Ohh you don't know what you are saying dude.....feel sorry for you!

MASTER260 said,
This just reaffirms my belief that Windows 8 is the next Longhorn - they were saying the same exact thing about it. This also reaffirms my belief that there's a chance of a dev reset resulting in a horrible OS, just like Longhorn's dev reset, which resulted in Vista...

EDIT: Of course, the speculation that Protogon is WinFS might be a pretty good point for my... point...

If you're saying that, then you don't really know why Longhorn was was it was. The first video of Longhorn was a concept demo, and the Windows 8 video was running on ACTUAL hardware. That's a huge difference. Microsoft has learned not to tout features before they are fully baked and ready to be revealed to the public. RTM version of Windows is no longer a year-long beta to SP1. anymore.

MASTER260 said,
This just reaffirms my belief that Windows 8 is the next Longhorn - they were saying the same exact thing about it. This also reaffirms my belief that there's a chance of a dev reset resulting in a horrible OS, just like Longhorn's dev reset, which resulted in Vista...
They are closing in on beta if they haven't already gone beta, I very much doubt the would turn back now
EDIT: Of course, the speculation that Protogon is WinFS might be a pretty good point for my... point...

MASTER260 said,
This also reaffirms my belief that there's a chance of a dev reset resulting in a horrible OS, just like Longhorn's dev reset, which resulted in Vista...

If you actually understood why there was a Longhorn/Vista reboot, you'd also realize why that can't happen with the Windows 8 development path.

DaveGreen said,
It's up to you to decide whether to use this UX or the classic one.

No rumor has it Steve Ballmer will personally stalk you if yo switch to Aero interface.

There is one version for all devices. The windows 7 start menu is still there but its not clear yet wether or not the start menu will be the default for desktops.

majortom1981 said,
There is one version for all devices. The windows 7 start menu is still there but its not clear yet wether or not the start menu will be the default for desktops.

The tablet UI will not be default on desktop PC unless you make it. Microsoft is in no way forgetting about the traditional interface. This is just specifically targeted for use with touch screen devices.

wixostrix said,

The tablet UI will not be default on desktop PC unless you make it. Microsoft is in no way forgetting about the traditional interface. This is just specifically targeted for use with touch screen devices.


Where are you getting this information from? From what I've seen at the D9 conference, Microsoft are planning on this new interface being the main one for all devices and formfactors (that includes desktops and laptops). It certainly makes sense for them to do that.

Callum said,

Where are you getting this information from? From what I've seen at the D9 conference, Microsoft are planning on this new interface being the main one for all devices and formfactors (that includes desktops and laptops). It certainly makes sense for them to do that.

I wasn't able to watch the demo form the D9 conference until now, I was just going by what I could from what I was reading. IMO, having it default on all devices doesn't make sense. While they demonstrated that it can work with traditional inputs (mouse and keyboard) it doesn't seem ideal without a touch screen. We'll see though. Something like this shouldn't be a default, but a choice.

Callum said,

Where are you getting this information from? From what I've seen at the D9 conference, Microsoft are planning on this new interface being the main one for all devices and formfactors (that includes desktops and laptops). It certainly makes sense for them to do that.

They said that Windows will adapt based on the hardware that's installed. One could interpret that as: if there's no touch-hardware the Touch-UI will be deactivated - or will at least will no be the default UI…

MFH said,

They said that Windows will adapt based on the hardware that's installed. One could interpret that as: if there's no touch-hardware the Touch-UI will be deactivated - or will at least will no be the default UI…

I hope that the latter rwill be true: i would like the ability to use whichever GUI I want on any device. I do noy see a problem using the new one on a desktop with mouse and keyboard.

MFH said,

They said that Windows will adapt based on the hardware that's installed. One could interpret that as: if there's no touch-hardware the Touch-UI will be deactivated - or will at least will no be the default UI…

Yes, and that would make a lot more sense.

Microsoft has added a new level of excitement to the Windows PC. What I love most is the consistency across device, whethers desktop, laptop, slate, tablet, phone, its the seamless consistency.

Indeed. And between input devices.

While the near future of laptops is touch-based tablets, the future of the desktop is gesture-based control, via Kinect-like devices (a la MINORITY REPORT).

So from the mouse/keyboard through voice-control, I see this as an excellent step forward.

Holey said,
Heaps looking forward to this

The only downfall is that it will be harder to pick out laptops with all these new CPU's.. I had just come out with a good system..

But seriously Im pumped for this..