Microsoft's next PC operating system will offer features users might ordinarily expect to find on a tablet or smartphone.
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Microsoft apparently intends to distribute applications and other content for its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system through an Apple-style app store.
In a post Wednesday on the new "Building Windows 8" blog, Windows group president Steven Sinofsky listed a number of features that will be found in the the OS. Among them, he said, is an "App Store." Sinofsky did not provide any further details, but noted that "you can probably figure out based on the name" the feature's intended purpose.
In early demonstrations, Microsoft has shown that Windows 8 will include a mode that allows users to run full-screen apps, as they would on a smartphone or tablet.
The post also revealed several other features that appear to be unique to Windows 8, including "In Control of Your PC", "Human Interaction Platform", which is possibly a reference to built-in support for the Xbox Kinect hands-free motion control system or Windows 8's touch-screen interface, and "Core Experience Evolved."
Microsoft plans to reveal full details about the Windows 8 operating system next month at its BUILD conference in Anaheim, Calif.
Microsoft has already said that Windows 8 will give users the option of working with a touch interface not unlike the "Live Tiles" display that is the foundation of Windows Phone 7. Live Tiles pushes real-time information from email, text, social networks, and other services to the home screen.
Microsoft also said that, with the introduction of Windows 8, the OS will for the first time be forked across two paths--one that runs on standard x86 chips from Intel and AMD, and one that runs on ARM's system-on-a-chip architecture for tablets and smartphones.
Sinofsky, in a previous post, said the decision to split Windows reflects the fact that mainstream computing now extends beyond the desktop. "Today, more than two out of three PCs are mobile (laptops, netbooks, notebooks, tablets, slates, convertibles, etc.). Nearly every PC is capable of wireless connectivity. Screen sizes range from under 10" to wall-sized screens and multiple HD screens," Sinofsky wrote.
BUILD runs Sept. 13 through 16 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
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