Windows 8: First Impressions

Microsoft Senior VP Unveils Windows 8 at BUILD 2011

I arrived at the BUILD event here in Anaheim, California, at about 8 a.m., an hour before the event. Already there was a mile-long line of developers crowding in front of 10 doors leading to the area where the first keynote would begin.

Extreme. And reminiscent of the craziness surrounding the Windows 95 launch back in the day.

The guy at the very front of the line--he was Cooper Power's Phil LaBar--told me he got there at 5 a.m.

By lunch, Microsoft senior vice-president of Windows Steve Sinofksy and other execs had shown us a slew of new features, which I detail here.

Here are some of my early impressions. Boot time is rapid--the demo showed a cold boot at eight seconds. And I loved the start screen in the new Metro UI.

To me, one of the biggest deals here is Windows 8 support for all of Microsoft's cloud-based services--Hotmail, Windows Live, and so on.

Another major advancement is Windows 8 support for touch and mobile devices -- most notably, tablets that don't have Intel inside. Execs showed three tablets running the developer preview version, launched today, of Windows 8. One was a prototype i5-based Samsung tablet. The other two tablets were based on Qualcomm's processor and the upcoming NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor.

Microsoft launched the Windows 8 Developer Preview today. Download it here in both 32 & 64-bit versions.

This is just part of what will be in Windows 8 on release. I'll be updating this piece. Stay tuned!

Larry Press is a senior contributor for BYTE. Email him at [email protected]

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