Windows 8 Rumors Heating Up

Published by: Mike Goldman on 4th Apr 2011 | View all blogs by Mike Goldman
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Windows 8 Rumors Heating Up

Even though much of the world has not yet upgraded to Windows 7, Microsoft is going ahead with plans to launch Windows 8, according to multiple reports.  Internet tech forums were chock full of reports from PC manufacturers that they had received early beta test versions of the operating system, and many analysts reported that PC makers had received beta versions after trying out much more rudimentary alpha versions earlier this year.

Microsoft has so far declined to comment on the reports, but historically it has unveiled its new versions of the world' most-used operating system in a series of test versions.  The curious aspect of the reports is that Windows 7 hasn't even been on store shelves a year-and-a-half yet.  Analysts say that the reason for Microsoft's rush to get Windows 8 out is the emerging tablet market.

Windows 8 will reportedly function on the ARM microchip architecture, a technology that powers the majority of the world's smartphones and tablets, or “slates”, as Microsoft prefers to call them.  With all of Microsoft's previous versions, the software has always required devices to have processors built on the x86 platform, which Intel and AMD design.

Analysts are expecting Windows 8 to feature enhanced graphics, support for 3-D, facial recognition capability, access to a Windows app store, and an instant-on feature; basically all the features that now come standard on most smartphones and tablets.

While Windows 7 works on a small number of tablets using Intel's Atom processor, compatibility with ARM technology will make Windows 8 available on a far-wider range of devices, and insiders say it will help Microsoft to become a major player in the tablet market.

Insiders predict that Windows 8 will be released sometime between this summer and the first quarter of 2012, with a tablet-compatible version to be released next summer.  Though Microsoft's priority with the new system is to become viable in the tablet market, the company also desperately wants to get PC users to upgrade from previous versions.  According to data from Net Applications, 54 percent of PCs are still using the 10-year-old Windows XP, and 11 percent still use Vista.

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