Windows 8 Is Like Windows Phone 7

Thursday, Jun 2, 2011  |  Updated 4:32 PM PDT
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Windows 8 Is Like Windows Phone 7

Windows 8 is a lot like Windows Phone 7.

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When Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 7's "Metro UI" featuring flat square "tiles" we fell in love with it. That's why it's not shocking to see Windows 8's touchscreen UI heavily inspired by it. For once, the entire Windows experience looks new and refreshing again.

After years of little nips and tucks to Windows here and there, it looks like Microsoft is finally targeting Windows 8 to be a touchscreen torpedo, aimed directly at iOS and Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets and slates.

While Windows 7 does have a touch layer, it's not exactly what you'd call intuitive or tailor-made for fingers. Rather, it's still regular Windows 7 without a mouse.

Taking a page from Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 will have live tiles that constantly push important info to its Start page, full-screen apps based on HTML5 and Javascript, the newest Internet Explorer 10, a mode that can run two apps side by side, a sweet feature that breaks the QWERTY keyboard into two for better typing with thumbs and lots and lots of flicking stuff around.

Of course, non-ARM and system-on-a-chip (SoC) Windows 8 devices will still be able to run legacy Windows apps in the regular Windows desktop environment, so technically, the new Windows 8 touch UI is kind of like a skin, but one that'll be front-stage and center, instead of something that's merely optional. Microsoft's goal is to make the two UI's work completely in unison — smooth and simple. And of course traditionalists can still use a mouse and keyboard with Windows 8, so don't toss those out just yet.

I have to say, it looks mighty fine, and I'm already excited to get hands-on time with the UI once it's more polished and ready for testing. Who would have thought Windows could look so colorful and with a splash of Bauhaus at the same time? Well played Microsoft; consider Windows 8 a do over — one that's much needed and welcome.

YouTube, via AllThingsD

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