Microsoft has treated developers to a sneak preview of Windows 8, but stopped short of revealing when it plans to launch the next generation of its flagship operating system (OS).
At the software giant's Windows Build Conference in California yesterday, Microsoft used the keynote presentation to walk attendees through a live demonstration of its new OS, and expand on some of the details revealed about it during July's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).
As revealed at WPC, Windows 8 will be optimised for use with tablets and other touchscreen devices, and will run on both ARM and x86 chipsets. The vendor also claims it will use nearly half the memory of its predecessor.
Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows Live Division, said the OS has undergone a "bold overhaul" ahead of its next release in response to the growing consumer demand for mobile devices.
"It used to be enough to be able to just carry your laptop around, put it down, plug it in and use it," said Sinofsky. "But now you want devices that you can use while you are carrying them or reclined. A whole new way of computing has arisen and we want Windows to respond to that."
Microsoft is keen to capitalise on the success it has had with Windows 7 with the next incarnation of the OS, added Sinofsky.
"Everything that was great about Windows 7, we took that and made it even better in Windows 8. So, if you have a Windows 7 PC, everything that runs on that is going to run on a Windows 8 PC," he said.
He also revealed that more than 450 million copies of Windows 7 have been sold since its launch three years ago, and that consumer usage of the OS has now overtaken XP.
However, while he talked attendees through the development schedule for Windows 8, Sinofsky did not reveal when the vendor plans to release it to manufacturers (RTM) or consumers.
"We are going to be driven by the quality [of the build] and not by a [release] date," he concluded.
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