SAN FRANCISCO - Computers running on the next version of Microsoft's Windows operating system will go on sale in October.
Microsoft Corp. announced the time frame for Windows 8's mass-market release Monday in Toronto. A specific sales date in October wasn't provided.
Most industry analysts expected Windows 8 would go on sale in the fall to ensure that the machines running on the operating system would be available for the holiday shopping season. Consumers and businesses who don't want to buy new computers will be able to buy Windows 8 and upgrade their systems.
New versions of Windows typically come out every three years, but this update is the most widely anticipated overhaul of the software since 1995.
Applications will appear in a mosaic of tiles on Windows 8. Microsoft also designed the operating system so it can run on personal computers or touch-based tablet computers.
Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash., plans to make its own tablet running on Windows 8 to compete against Apple Inc.'s hot-selling iPad. The company hasn't yet announced a price for its tablet, which will be called the Surface. It also will be competing against a variety of other tablets, including the Kindle Fire from Amazon.com Inc. and the Nexus 7, which is being released later this month by Google Inc.
As part of its efforts to develop more touch-based software, Microsoft also announced the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel Inc. The deal gives Microsoft access to technology used in large multi-touch displays for TV broadcasters, as well as government, defence, engineering and educational markets, Microsoft said.
Terms of the Perceptive Pixel purchase weren't disclosed.
Windows 8 is being counted on to help revive demand for laptops and other personal computers.
The operating system's versatility is expected to encourage leading PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. to release hybrid machines that are part laptop, part tablet computer. Both HP and Dell have also indicated they plan to release tablet computers powered by Windows 8, thrusting them into competition with Microsoft's Surface.
Microsoft is releasing Windows 8 computer manufacturers during the first week of August.
The high hopes riding on Windows 8 is the main reason that Microsoft's stock has climbed by about 15 per cent so far this year. The shares fell 28 cents to $29.91 in Monday's early afternoon trading.
The new lock screen for Windows 8, which appears after you put your computer to sleep or restart or lock your computer. Notifications such as new email alerts, Wi-Fi availability and other essential, user-chosen information will be pushed to this screen.
Here is the start screen in the 'Metro' view (the classic start bar "desktop" view is still available). Users can scroll side-to-side, much as they would on an iOS or Android phone, for different groups of applications. Immediately to the right of this homescreen is the media hub (seen above).
Users have the option to categorize their apps into genre or function. Sinofsky and Green showed off a Media category, Games category and social networking category.
Zoomed Out View
Users can zoom out from this view to see all of their apps at once. This is also where you can move entire blocks at a time closer to the homescreen. For example, if you want Games immediately next to your homescreen, or on the homescreen itself, you can pick up the entire block and drag it to the left.
On Screen Keyboard
Emphasizing touchability, a demo of the Windows 8's on-screen keyboard was shown to pop up with the scroll of the thumb. The new Microsoft OS still works, of course, with mouse and physical keyboard, but this is an option for those on tablets or touchscreen PCs.
The new control panel, in Metro view.
An RSS reader in Metro view--very scrollable and visual.
RSS Feed - Expanded
An expanded view of the RSS feed. Users can scroll up and down within articles or left and right to switch between articles.
A view of a hypothetical social network, in a pane interface. You can see the news feed pane on the left and the full view on the right.
Video Player And Settings
While playing a video of paragliding, Julie Larson-Green turned up the volume via in the collapsible sidebar settings panel.
Multi-Tasking - News Feed And Video
You can view two apps or windows at once on your tablet by dragging them together and letting them "snap" together. Seen above, a scannable News Feed flanks a paragliding video, letting the viewer work while enjoying media entertainment.
Newly Opened Tab In Internet Explorer
Starting up Internet Explorer in Metro mode. Here you can see the Most Visited pages and Favorites pinned to the page.
Internet Explorer With On-Screen Keyboard
Typing a web address into Internet Explorer using the on-screen explorer.
Webpage In Internet Explorer
A webpage viewed in Internet Explorer.
The 'Share Charm'
The 'Share Charm' icon sits on the Start bar. When you see something within an app you want to share, pull out the start bar and click 'Share"...
Share Charm (Continued)
Select a piece of text, image, video or whole webpage and choose a contact in your address book you want to send that information to.
Universal Spell Check
Green didn't mean to, but she showed off another new feature of Windows 8 (also recently added to Lion OS X): Universal Spell Check, which proofs words typed in any Windows 8 app.
Speaking of Mac, Windows 8 will have a spotlight-style universal search, which will let the user browse through the entire system for a search query.
Universal Search (Continued)
The search bar can also scan through any of your apps, including apps like Bing that search online.