Microsoft representatives hold a new Surface tablet computer as it is unveiled by Microsoft in Los Angeles, California, June 18, 2012. Microsoft Corp introduced its own line of tablet computers on Monday at a much-hyped press event in Los Angeles, marking a major strategic shift for the software giant as it struggles to compete with Apple Inc and re-invent its aging Windows franchise. (Photo : REUTERS/David McNew)
The drop in PC sales in the second quarter has been largely attributed to the delayed release of Microsoft's Windows 8 Operating System amongst other things.
This could mean that customer and users are holding off on buying new PCs until they can purchase them with the new OS already installed as part of the package. If this is truly the case, then it means a great amount of people, including manufacturers, are anxiously awaiting the latest iteration of Windows.
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But what is so prevalent about the new OS? What new features does it include? Here are some of Window 8's finest offerings.
Touch-Centric, Tiles-Based Interface
The Window start-up menu will be customizable through a new tiles system as opposed to the traditional desktop icons. In their Build Conference last week, Microsoft showcased how a weather tile on Windows 8 could show the current weather and project it for the next two days without actually opening up the app, making for a faster means of navigating the interface. There will be a wide array of tiles, including one for mail and one for social networking to show notifications and new emails.
The feature will obviously be a major component of the latest Microsoft Tablets, but will also be available for use with mouse and keyboard on PCs.
The interface will also be customizable as users can move the tiles around and place them in orders that fit their needs and wants.
Automatic Search Function
Unlike prior versions of Windows, 8 has no search box on the start menu, or a start menu for that matter. However, users can simply type anything and a search bar will automatically materialize. Apps that contain the keyword will also appear instantaneously. If the user clicks on one of the apps that appear, the search will be narrowed to all information containing the keyword in that particular app. This narrows the search not only more easily, but much quicker.
Windows To Go
Windows to Go enables users to make a copy of their ENTIRE OS, including settings, wallpapers, files, and applications into a USB thumb drive. If they put the drive into another Windows 8 powered computer, they will be able to utilize their settings of Windows 8 on the new computer. This feature obviously presents the greatest convenience to its users as it essentially limits the need for carrying around laptops or other large computers. The thumb drive also guarantees that users can backup their settings in case their computer crashes or has other issues.
Windows Live Synching
Don't like the idea having to save your entire OS on a small drive? Windows Live Synching backs up personalized setting of Windows 8 online, enabling users to open an account and utilize their settings on other computers. It might seem redundant to have this feature and Windows to Go, but Microsoft is certainly not overlooking any detail or any user preference with both of these futures. Instead, it is clearly attempting to appeal to every potential user.
This feature enables users to run two apps in Windows 8 side-by-side. Users will be able to re-size them and switch between them at will. A bar on one of the sides of the screen will show other apps that the user can switch between, making it faster to move from one application to the next.
Windows 8 is expected to arrive in October. The OS will also feature the traditional Windows desktop and current users of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to the new interface for just $40. Users who upgrade will also get the pro version instead of the base version of Windows 8 and enable users to download the Windows Media Center for no cost. The upgrade offer will expire on January 31, 2013.