Microsoft launches Windows 8 developer preview, downloads coming 'later this week'
We got a taste of Windows 8 back at D9, but the real bounty is waiting in Anaheim. The company's kicking off its Build conference with a full-on developer preview of its next major desktop operating system, still code-named Windows 8 for the time being. According to Steven Sinofsky -- president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft -- the company has "reimagined Windows," bringing about a "new range of capabilities" that coders will begin to dig into sooner rather than later. As we'd seen before, the "Metro-styled" user interface is front-and-center, bringing graphical elements of Windows Phone 7 to desktop, laptop and tablet users of the future. Internet Explorer 10 is also onboard, as well as a focus on "apps" that can communicate with one another, and content that can sync across devices. Folks comfortable in a Win7 environment ought to be right at home here -- Win8 is built on the same foundation, though the retooled Task Manager and Windows Explorer should tickle the average fancy.
The Windows Store will enable devs to hawk their apps to any nation where Windows is sold, and yes, support for ARM-based chipsets is proudly included alongside compatibility with x86 devices. In other words, everything from "10-inch tablets to laptops to all-in-ones with 27-inch HD screens" will be able to ingest Win8 with ease. That's a markedly different take than the folks in Cupertino have expressed, with an (admittedly limiting) mobile OS being chosen to run the tablet side of things. Only time will tell which mantra proves more viable, but we're guessing the both of 'em will find varying levels of success. Microsoft has also confirmed backwards compatibility with "devices and programs" that support Windows 7, and while an exact time has yet to be revealed, we're told that developers will be able to download the Windows Developer Preview via the new Windows Dev Center later this week. Full fact sheets can be seen in the source link below, and our hands-on impressions of the new code can be found right here. Gallery: Windows 8 developer preview screenshots