Series 7 Slate. The new look comes courtesy of Microsoft's much teased and hotly anticipated touch-friendly OS, Windows 8. The latest operating system is something entirely new for Microsoft and with this they wants to lead on mobile computing area.
New Windows 8 uses the "Metro-style" UI. This features Live tiles, hidden menus and controls, large, flashy graphics, bold white type, multi-touch gestures:
these are the characteristics that set the OS apart from its predecessor and, to some degree, from its competitors. You won't see any of the old, static Windows here, unless of course you choose to -- the desktop that you've grown used to in Windows 7 is still present, albeit as an app, but more on that later. If you're familiar with Windows Phone 7, the user experience should be pretty familiar, but not entirely so.
The new Windows 8 first showed in Samsung's Series 7 Slate PC called "developer PC". The Series 7 sports a 400 nit, 11.6-inch capacitive panel (1366 x 768 resolution), Intel's 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M CPU with integrated graphics, a 64GB SSD and 4GB of RAM. On the front there's a 2 megapixel camera and a light sensor, and around the back sits a 3 megapixel shooter. Connectivity comes courtesy of 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, plus there's a USB 2.0 port and a micro HDMI socket.
Microsoft has confirmed that everything that runs on Windows 7 runs on Windows 8 but we can't help but feel like it's gone just a little too far with all of this Metro business. The normal desktop view, which will play host to your more serious applications like Excel and Photoshop, is treated just like your Twitter client and RSS feed. It's an app like any other on the Start page, but in reality it's an entirely different user interface. Yes, touch and stylus controls are the same, and there are a few style cues carried over from the Metro UI, but tap on that desktop icon and you're served with a healthy helping of OS.
Two major components of the Metro UI are touch and personalization, both of which become obvious at login. Users can select a personalized lock screen as well as choosing between three login methods: standard password, PIN, or picture password. The last of which allows you to chose a photo from any of your various photo deposits, including a myriad apps and cloud storage spaces, and then apply three touch gestures to authenticate that you are indeed the master of your machine. We zipped through this process, poking the eyes of a precious pit bull to get to the start screen. This start page is exactly what it sounds like -- it's the starting point for absolutely everything you do, and it's likewise skinned to fit your every whim and fancy.
One thing becomes abundantly clear when you're zipping through those customizable live tiles: Microsoft is banking on touch screens. The outfit's execs weren't shy on that point at yesterday's press preview, going so far as to say that "a monitor without touch feels dead," but the proof is in the pudding. Fortunately, most of the touch gestures are perfectly responsive; simple swipes left and right allowed for quick scrolling, a swipe from the right edge of the screen pulled up the appropriate navigation menu, and a gentle tap and pull on any given tile selected it for customization, but there was one gesture we never managed to master
By Kaila Piyush
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