Windows 8 Consumer Preview Available to Download
Microsoft's next generation operating system, Windows 8 won't be just for desktops and notebooks. So it makes sense that its Windows 8 Consumer Preview was unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2012, where tablets are also getting just as much attention as its smartphone counterpart.
For one, it sports the Metro user interface that's easily identified from its debut on Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7. Windows 8 take the same design approach, choosing to populate the interface with live Tiles that does dynamic updates to your apps. From what we've seen, you'll find yourself in familiar territory if you switch between a Windows 8 desktop, notebook or even tablet, and a Windows Phone device.
Touch gestures are a huge part of the Windows 8 interface, and the consumer preview has shown various multi-touch gestures such as pinching to zoom out and view all your apps at one glance, Swipes in various directions, such as from top downwards will close apps. All this points to Microsoft's focus on pushing Windows 8 onto tablets, which depend mostly on touch screens for users to interact.
And what of desktops and notebooks without touch screen capabilities? Microsoft hasn't forgotten about them. In lieu of touch gestures, a whole new set of actions with your mouse and keyboard will perform the same functions as the earlier mentioned touch gestures. This includes moving the mouse cursor to each of the four corners, followed by a movement up or down to either bring up the charm menu, or recent apps. Simply type on your keyboard, and you'll perform a global search across your Windows 8 system, bringing relevant apps or files that matches whatever you type.
Microsoft is also leveraging on their Windows Live service. In particular, Microsoft is eschewing the fact that regardless of devices, you can sign in and get all your settings, apps and many more synchronized across multiple devices. We also noticed a People app, which acts quite similar to what was demonstrated on Windows Phone. Accounts such as your Hotmail, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more will be integrated with the Mail, Messaging, and People apps.
From what we have seen, Windows 8 has a lot of potential to unify not just the desktop, notebook and tablet form factors, but also bring smartphones into its portfolio. So if you want to get your hands on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, here's the good news: it is available to download right now over here.