The next major release of the Microsoft Windows operating system, Windows 8 officially debuted on October 26th, 2012 following a release to manufacturing on August 1st.
According to Microsoft, Windows 8 is a completely redesigned operating system developed from the ground up with touchscreen use in mind as well as near-instant-on capabilities that enable a Windows 8 PC to load and start up in a matter of seconds rather than in minutes.
Windows 8 replaces the more traditional Microsoft Windows OS look and feel with a new design system interface codenamed "Metro" that first debuted in the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. The Metro user interface primarily consists of a "Start screen" made up of "Live Tiles," which are links to applications and features that are dynamic and update in real time. Users will also be able to switch between apps in Metro by simply swiping across the screen.
Windows 8 also features the latest Internet Explorer Web browser, Internet Explorer 10, as well as integrated cloud-based online services like Microsoft’s app store and Office 365. The new operating system will also likely add built-in support for newer technologies like USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0.
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