Updated 9:30 PM PDT
Sinofsky told the crowd that “We tried with Windows 8 to reimagine how you work with a PC”.
The entire Operating System has been visually redesigned from the ground up, and Sinofsky noted that it will run in a smaller resource footprint than Windows 7.
The first big chance is the absence of the start menu, which has been made obsolete in this new interface. Instead of a start menu there is a revamped start screen that takes visual cues from the tile based interface Microsoft introduced with Windows Phone 7. Applications on the user’s computer are viewed as tiles and can be clicked on or, with a touchscreen platform, tapped by the user’s finger.
The biggest change in Windows 8 is the fact that the OS is designed to run on across Intel, AMD, as well as ARM chips. Applications written for Windows 8 will come in two forms: one that runs in a traditional desktop, and one in mobile form written in Java and HTML5. This means that Windows 8 will really be two Operating Systems in one — a more traditional desktop version, and a Web powered one likely optimized for mobile platforms. Despite this redesign, legacy applications designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse will be compatible with the new touchscreen based interface.
Sinofsky showed off the redesigned Internet Explorer 10, which has been optimized for touch tablet platforms. Microsoft Office still looks the same.
Also on the start screen was a tile for a Microsoft App store, which will likely be quite similar to the app store built into iTunes.
Sinofsky did not confirm a release date, though he did mention that Microsoft would like to stick with a refresh cycle of every two or three years, which would mean the projected release date is mid 2012. Apple is also expected to release the next iteration of iOS that year.
More Details Revealed at Computex
A few hours later at the Computex expo in Taipei, Microsoft revealed more details about their new operating system specifically how the tablet and desktop versions of Windows 8 will be at times indistinguishable.
On stage was Michael Anguilo, Microsoft’s Vice President of Windows Planning, Hardware and PC Ecosystems who had a number of ARM powered as well as x86 devices with him to demonstrate Windows 8. Two of those devices on stage, a tablet and a ultra-portable laptop, were reportedly powered by NVIDIA’s Kal-El chip.
Anguilio told the crowd that Windows 8 will be designed to meet the needs of a changing computer landscape. Windows 8, according to Anguilo, is a reimagining of Windows for Iternet computing, ultra-portable devices, and touchscreens.
More details will be announced at Microsoft’s BUILD:Windows event, scheduled for September 13-16 in Anaheim.
Microsoft also released a promotional video entitled “Building Windows 8″