Windows 8 for tablets and touchscreens revealed

Microsoft's new OS is a scalable one

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Microsoft has unveiled an operating system it denied ever having last week – Windows 8. When Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer let slip that Windows 8 was on the horizon, the company retracted his words explaining that there was no immediate plans for an OS update but at the D9 conference this week it was shown off.

Windows 8 is set to be a new and improved touchscreen version of Windows, which takes more than a little inspiration from Windows Phone 7 – the company's smartphone OS.

The demo of Windows 8 (which is said to be just a codename at the moment) was done on a prototype tablet and a desktop.

Windows re-imagined

In a release about Windows 8, Microsoft said: "Windows 8 is a re-imagining of Windows, from the chip to the interface.

"A Windows 8-based PC is really a new kind of device, one that scales from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse."

This "scaling" is apparent in a number of new features for Windows 8. These include many features already found on Windows Phone 7.

There's the fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen; live tiles with notifications; the convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen; web-connected and web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript and some fully touch-optimised browsing.

Microsoft has optimised Windows Phone 8 for touch, but is stressing that it will work just as well with a keyboard and mouse.

"The new Windows experience will ultimately be powered by application and device developers around the world — one experience across a tremendous variety of PCs."

As for a Windows 8 UK release date. Well, it seems that Ballmer was right, as it looks like it will be hitting shops in 2012.

To see just what Microsoft is up to, check out this video below.

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