Microsoft formally launched Windows 8 last week, and you might not recognize the operating system. That’s because this new OS looks completely different than its ancestors. Windows 8 was designed with touch in mind, useful across desktops, laptops, and tablets. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, said “Windows 8 brings together the best of the PC and the tablet.”
The most apparent change is the removal of the “Start” button. Designers modeled Windows 8 to mirror the look and feel of the smartphone Windows OS, displaying tiles within a home screen. This new tile design is an attempt at facilitating the “Windows user interface.”
If you pick up a new device running Windows, expect to see two different versions; Windows 8 and Windows RT. Windows 8 will run most desktops and laptops, while Windows RT will operate tablets.
If you upgrade from Windows 7, expect Windows 8 to improve computer battery performance, reduce memory usage, and increase boot speed. Windows 8 will run apps from the Windows app store as usual.
Windows RT is built exclusively for running apps, downloadable from the Windows app store. Think of RT as a tablet-optimized version, designed around the computer chips tablets are run from. The “RT” translates to “Run Time,” and comes installed with Microsoft Office. It is worth noting that while tablets will come with Windows RT installed, some tablets will be compatible with Windows 8.
This latest version of the Windows 8 is yet another example of technology trending to facilitate mobile. As Windows continues to design around mobile, expect to see the Windows OS begin to capture market share from industry leaders, Apple and Android.