Leaked Windows 8 Docs Suggest OS is Highly Customizable

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft's plans for Windows 8 appear to have been leaked online. It's hard to tell if they are legitimate, but they make for interesting possibilities.

Windows Store In The Works?

Of the supposed plans leaked, the most newsworthy feature is the possibility of a "Windows Store," which would allow software developers to distribute their programs similar to the iTunes App Store system and combines a central catalog with a rigorous vetting process. Software bought on one machine could be transferred, complete with user settings, to another machine subject to licensing.

If closely tied into the new Windows system, this could certainly appeal to consumers. However, the technical restriction is that PCs are, by definition, much more varied than specific brands of smartphone, so it might be tougher to guarantee that everything would work the same on all machines. One possibility would be for everything to run through a central application.

Increased Input Options

The plans also suggest the new Windows will work with a wide range of inputs, mentioning devices and measurements as diverse as facial recognition in webcams (which could replace typed passwords for logging into Windows), GPS positioning and accelerometers, the movement devices that allow for shake and tilt functions in smartphones. (Source: pcworld.com)

There is also mention of efforts to speed up the time it takes for Windows to start up and shutdown, with suggestions that start up could be as quick as a smartphone. That sounds ambitious, but things certainly moved in the right direction with Windows 7.

Story has its Caveats

With news of this type being "leaked," there are caveats to follow. First and foremost: the plans first appeared on an Italian enthusiast site and are said to be a series of slides sent out in April to PC makers. This raises a couple of notes of caution, as it seems unlikely such detail would be released -- even confidentially -- this early in the production cycle. Even if it were, it seems unlikely it would have taken so long for a copy to get leaked. (Source: windows8italia.com)

There's also some question as to whether the relatively mild changes tie in with the expectation that the next edition of Windows will be a completely new release, like Vista was after XP, rather than how Windows 7 was fundamentally an improved version of Vista.

Still, whether the claims are genuine, or if they are simply the ideas of a particularly dedicated hoaxer, they certainly act as talking points.

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