It shouldn't come as a surprise that Microsoft is always pulling ideas from multiple angles when trying to determine how to proceed with its next OS. If you don't try to innovate, then your product becomes stale and you will give up some market share.
With that in mind, it is no surprise that Microsoft is willing to try pretty drastic ideas in the concept stages to see if the features would actually be of value in the final OS that ships to consumers. Zdnet has uncovered some concept images that were submitted to Microsoft from their Microsoft R&D India arm. Zdnet states:
Microsoft R&D India was tasked last year with overseeing an “…academic – industry collaborative project…” consisting of the creation of “…new and innovative interfaces and user experiences for the next generation Operating system Windows 8 for information workers.”
The images posted show some of the concepts that were submitted to Microsoft that could potentially end up in Windows 8. The ideas, in a nutshell, consist of multiple desktops/flip and smart sticky notes. It should be noted that the desktop flip does look similar to the 3D flip that is currently in Windows 7 but Zdnet speculates that it may be part of the touch screen based UI.
Also, the sticky note idea is nothing new, both OS X and Windows currently allow this feature but a few simple additions such as reminders (it pops up on the screen on a certain date) could be a welcomed addition.
It is speculated that these pictures are only part of the puzzle and that there are more to the concepts that what the picture shows. Regardless, these concepts do provide a glimpse at what Microsoft has at least considered for its upcoming OS.