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Microsoft Windows 8 review

Microsoft Windows 8 will have to be good: and the early signs look like it will be exactly that, as it takes the fight to Google Android, Linux, and Apple's Mac OS X and iOS operating systems. Here's our first-look review of Microsoft Windows 8.

Yes, Microsoft is late to the game in tablets. Redmond tried pitching Windows 7 for touch screens without a lot of success, and refused to port Windows Phone 7 to tablets, insisting that a full desktop operating system was needed. And by the time Windows 8 comes out - probably next year - Apple's iPad and Google's Android will probably have the market cornered. But that doesn't mean Windows 8 for tablets won't be good. It's hard to know exactly how it will work in practice. For example, will Windows 8 tablets take forever to start up like Windows desktops do?

Windows 8, which will work with mouse and keyboard or touch, gives you applications in mosaic tiles, rather than Microsoft's traditional windows. Each tile shows a bit of the application's personality, sort of like an Android widget, and once you get into the apps you can swipe from one to the other.

The twist is that you can have two applications running on the screen simultaneously, and resize them to your pleasure, just like you can on a Windows desktop. While my only view is from a four-minute video, I'm assuming (hoping) this means you could, for example, type in a document on one side of the screen while using the Web browser on the other.

Story & screenshot:

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I really like what Microsoft is doing with 8. It's nice to see them trying to "think different". If they truly move in this direction I'll be in line for a Windows 8 touch screen laptop.

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