Microsoft Unveils Windows 8 Tile Interface

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Windows 8 will bring Windows Phone 7’s ‘live tile’ interface to desktops and tablets

Microsoft’s next desktop operating system, Windows 8, will include the most dramatic redesign of the user interface since Windows 95, the company said at an unveiling of the new software on Thursday.

The new user interface closely resembles that used in Windows Phone 7 devices, with “live tiles” that can be tapped or flicked away using a touch-screen or standard keyboard and mouse.

Live tiles

The company released a video demonstrating the new interface.

Windows 8 does away with the “Start” button introduced with Windows 95, Microsoft said. The Start button built into many keyboards will now take the user back to the desktop.

Microsoft said users will have the option of reverting to the more familiar interface.

Developers will be able to write Windows 8 applications based on the JavaScript and HTML5 web technologies, allowing applications to more easily run across desktops and mobile devices. Microsoft said.

The redesign comes as Microsoft struggles to find its feet in the tablet and smartphone markets.

The software won’t ship this year, but Microsoft is expected to discuss a launch schedule at its developer conference in September.

Existing hardware

Despite the changes, Windows 8 won’t require users to buy a new PC, said Michael Angiulo, Microsoft vice president for Windows planning, at a Taipei launch event on Thursday.

The operating system will include intelligence for adapting itself to the user’s hardware, another aspect designed to help it work with existing hardware, according to Angiulo.

It will be designed for a 16:9 aspect ratio with a minimum resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, and will be adaptable to a 1024 x 768 aspect ratio, he said.

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