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Microsoft Corp. plans to showcase user interface of its Windows 8 operating system sometimes in the middle of the year, a media report claims. The UI will be demonstrated on a tablet computer rather than on a traditional one, hence, may be different from what Microsoft prepares for desktops or notebooks.

The world's largest maker of software reportedly intends to show the user interface by the end of its fiscal year in June, which may mean that Microsoft would show it off at the Computex Taipei trade-show. The interface, according to BusinessInsider web-site that cites people familiar with the technology, will utilize some concepts from the Metro interface of Windows Phone 7. Other details remain unknown.

Asus Eee tablet with Windows 7 operating system

The decision to show off the UI for tablets by the end of the fiscal year should prove market observers that Microsoft is on track with its operating system for emerging market of PCs in tablet form-factor. However, until Microsoft truly starts to ship its Windows 8 - or any other OS for tablets - to the market, the latter will be dominated by its direct rivals, including Apple iOS, Google Android, Palm webOS and others. Even though there are companies planning slates featuring Windows 7, those tablets will be special-purpose devices and not media tablets like iPad aimed at consumers without significant demands towards performance and functionality.

A well-known web-site specialized on leaking various builds of software by Microsoft recently reported that the software company was about to finish its milestone 2 (M2) iteration of Windows 8 development and the third (M3) phase would start in March, 2011. After the M3 is finished, Microsoft is expected to release public Beta-1 and Beta-2, then unveil a release candidate (RC) and after that assemble the final version sometimes in late 2012. The software giant reportedly plans to release the operating system in retail in early 2013. Some other rumours suggest that Windows 8 is due in 2012.

One of the key features of Windows 8 will be very fast boot time or even instant-on feature. In addition, Microsoft plans to implement various performance optimizations in order to make the operating system (OS) more responsive. Considering that more and more computers now integrate web cameras, Windows 8 is projected feature facial recognition technology. Also, the next-gen OS will likely leverage usage of Bluetooth 3.0, USB 3.0 and other high-speed interfaces.

Microsoft will target four PC form-factors – desktop, laptop, all-in-one desktop and slate. It can be expected that Windows 8 graphics user interface will either be customizable or will be generally very flexible to satisfy completely different users. Given that tablets are already getting popular, it may be crucial for Microsoft to release Windows 8 rather sooner than later.

Microsoft Corp. did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Android, webOS


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