Disclaimer: These rumors were never confirmed from official Microsoft sources. At the time of this writing, there is no official announcement from Microsoft regarding the new features of Windows 8.
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In my last article, I described in depth why everything that can be said about Windows 8 is now only speculation. It is important to note because many bloggers and even journalists took the contents of the leaked presentations too seriously. When you read now about the new Windows 8 features that appear most interesting to me, you might come to the conclusion that I made the same mistake. However, it is just too boring to always write "could be," "may be," or "hopefully."
Windows Store ^
Windows Store is an application store where you will be able to buy Windows software. I suppose, the software you can buy there will also run on Windows versions other than Windows 8. Yeah, sure, Microsoft got this idea from Apple. Nothing wrong with that. I wonder if this will become Microsoft's main revenue stream in the future considering the gigantic market for Windows applications.
Cloud integration ^
Steve Ballmer made clear in his famous cloud speech that the cloud is the next big thing for Microsoft. I have outlined already in detail how I interpret Ballmer's notion of the cloud. The expression that caught my eye in the presentations was "connectivity is assumed." This reminds me of Google's Chrome OS.
The main point is that more and more Windows applications will be able to store their data in the cloud (online services). The new thing in these presentations appears to be that this could also work for the applications themselves. That is, not only your data but also your apps will be available no matter which machine you log on to. If this was just about web apps, it would be boring. However, Microsoft could have something different in mind. Perhaps the Windows Store will come into play here?
Connected Help and Support ^
The main idea about this new Windows 8 feature appears to be a tighter integration of Windows help with online resources (Microsoft support, PC manufacturers, forums.) This could be really interesting. However, I doubt this new help system could beat the best Windows help and support system we have: Google.
Form factors ^
Steve Jobs believes that iPad will kill the PC. The truth is that we will see many different form factors of PCs in the future. Even though one of the presentations indicates that Windows 8 will focus on three form factors (desktops, laptops, slates), I believe that these won't be the only options in the future.
It is quite likely that we will see many hybrids with every thinkable screen size and user interface. Some will have only a touch interface, some will have keyboards, some will have both (already do), some will have removable keyboards, and some might only have Kinect interface (see next post). If I were Steve Ballmer, I would shout now that Microsoft will have the best operating system to run perfectly on all different form factors. And this operating system will be called Windows 8 (if this will be really the name).
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In my next post, I will blog about some more rumored Windows 8 features.