Microsoft previews Windows 8 at BUILD

screenshot_lockScreen_webSince details about the next-gen OS first began emerging, Windows 8 has been elevated to make-or-break status for Microsoft.  The tour-de-forces that are iOS and Android have been a major hindrance for the software titan, but the generally positive feedback surrounding Windows 8 has been promising for what some have called a dying brand.

Today at the company’s BUILD developer conference, Microsoft offered the most revealing details of Windows 8 to date. Here are some of the most exciting features unveiled today:

Touch capability

Microsoft wasn’t ready for tablets, that much is clear. But the company is ready to adapt to them and will include “a new Metro style interface built for touch.” According to Microsoft, this Metro UI (which is defined as being full immersion) is mouse and keyboard friendly for purists as well. IE 10 will also be built with touchscreens in mind.

screenshot_IE10

App-focused

Apps are quickly becoming the life and death of an operating system. If you want to have staying power, you’ve got to have mobile ambitions, and if you’ve got mobile ambitions, you’ve got apps – or at least a game plan. A major criticism of the Windows mobile OS has been its App Marketplace, which every new smartphone player is dealing with. But Windows 8 is reportedly going to ease some of that pain. Microsoft says Windows 8 will reduce its memory footprint where it can to leave more room for apps, which will also be built to fill your entire screen and communicate with each other. “For example, you can easily select and email photos from different places, such as Facebook, Flickr, or on your hard drive.”

You will also be able to sync your content across Windows devices using SkyDrive or Metro style apps. Note for PC lovers: You aren’t being forsaken. Microsoft says Windows 8 will include an enhanced Task Manager and improved options for dual (or more) screen users.

Windows 8 will also introduce the Windows Store. Users can access apps via the Windows Store on any supporting device.

touch_keyboard

Next-gen hardware

What’s an announcement without a few new device teasers? Windows 8 is wisely built to support a variety of devices (read: Tablets) of all shapes and sizes. Better yet, Microsoft says functionality won’t be compromised by device, and boot up, battery life, and standby won’t be limited by say…an ultrathin latop or tablet.

This operating system is envisioned to be versatile. Microsoft intends for it to run on everything from servers running innumerable processors down to handheld tablets. And this would make Windows 8 the first to add touch to a major, not-exclusively mobile operating system – a big, innovative step for a manufacturer accused of being late to the game.

Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Computing

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Movies & TV

HBO Go vs. HBO Now: Which streaming service is right for you?

If you're looking to get access to HBO, you might be comparing HBO Go and HBO Now. We break down the differences between the twin streaming services and see how they compare to one another.
Computing

Does Qualcomm's latest laptop processor hold up against Intel's Core i5?

Qualcomm has been nipping at Intel's mobile CPU heels for years and now it might finally have overtaken it. To find out whether it's new SoC can hold its own in mid-range computing, we pitted the Snapdragon 8cx vs. Core i5.
Photography

Not just for Lightroom anymore, Loupedeck+ now works with Photoshop

Loupedeck+ can now help photographers edit in Photoshop too, thanks to physical controls for swapping tools, running actions, and more. The photo-editing console expanded to include Photoshop in the list of compatible editing programs.
Computing

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.
Computing

Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Computing

Don't keep typing the same thing -- learn to copy and paste with these shortcuts!

Looking for useful Windows keyboard shortcuts? The most common are the cut, copy, paste and undo shortcuts compatible with all kinds of tasks. They can save you an awful lot of time if you learn how to use them.
Computing

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 
Computing

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 
Computing

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.