(Ping! Zine) – Newly leaked documents about Windows 8 offer insight into where Microsoft is planning to go with its next OS.
Microsoft is clearly paying attention to Apple. In the documents, Microsoft discusses plans to offer a Windows Store similar to Apple. The documents also discuss plans to give Windows a more iPad-like response time through new power management settings.
Although other parts of the document don’t directly reference Apple, they discuss the need for features popularized by its products, including an App Store.
Although Windows has continued to dominate the PC market, still holding roughly 95 percent of global market share, it faces a significant threat from mobile operating systems looking to encroach on the low end of the computer market, including the iPad and Android-based devices.
Goals outlined for Windows 8 include new features that would appear to be aimed at making Windows more competitive in this market, including improved simplicity, better support of touch and gestures, as well as support for smaller-size screens.
The presentation also refers to the slate form factor as a “center of gravity,” alongside laptops and all-in-ones.
To achieve quicker boot-up, Microsoft is looking at several things, including a new combination of logging off and hibernating a machine that would offer a faster boot-up than a full restart. That combination would become the default on-off behavior, though just what to name the setting is still a question mark, according to the documents. The company is also looking to resume from sleep in less than a second, according to the documents.
Of course, the goal of instant-on PCs is a long held, but as yet unrealized aspiration. Microsoft significantly improved its boot-up, resume, and shut-down times with Windows 7, but they all pale when compared to the nearly instantaneous response one gets from a mobile device such as the iPhone or iPad.
As for the store, Microsoft apparently plans to let each computer maker brand the store under their own name. Among the benefits to consumers would be the ability to access those applications on any PC they own. It is also outlined as an opportunity for partners to make money after the PC sale, though it is described as “revenue neutral” for Windows, suggesting that perhaps Microsoft is not planning to take a cut of sales.
One slide suggests that, in an earlier forum with hardware makers, Microsoft heard that such a store is seen as needed as soon as possible, though this is clearly a tricky undertaking with Microsoft having to balance the needs of software creators, consumers, partners, resellers, and the PC makers–not to mention Microsoft itself.
The slides also offer up a time frame for Internet Explorer 9, suggesting a beta of the new browser is expected by August. Microsoft has had developer platform previews of IE9, but those have lacked a significant user interface and other features. The beta, according to the slides, will be the “first release of full IE functionality.”