June 1, 2011 at 8:46 PM ET
Today Microsoft revealed a first official look at Windows 8, or actually "Windows 8," its internal codename until an official name is selected. Though it's full-fledged Windows, it's clearly designed for touch tablets, phones and even large screens, "with or without a keyboard and mouse." The look and feel is remarkably like Windows Phone 7, which doesn't come as a surprise.
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The demo, shared at the D9 Conference, touched on launching apps from a tile-based Start screen; live tiles with updating information, similar to those on Windows Phones; "snapping" between apps with fluid multitasking; and a full touch browser with the not-yet-released Internet Explorer 10.
Classic Windows apps will run, at least those compatible with Windows 7, with a screen that resembles earlier Windows. "The full capabilities of Windows continue to be available to you, including the Windows Explorer and Desktop, as does compatibility with all Windows 7 logo PCs, software and peripherals."
However, according to AllThingsD, host of the D conference, there won't be a "compatibility layer"; ARM-based Windows 8 tablets apparently won't be able to run older Windows apps, as rumored.
D's Ina Fried, in an interview with Windows boss Steven Sinofsky, reported that Microsoft appears to be leaning toward an app store model similar to Apple's, with Windows 8 software sold in a desktop-based store, something our colleagues have recently speculated on.
In a video demo, Jensen Harris, director of program management for the Windows User Experience team, walked through the user interface, including live tiles, app "snapping," and classic software compatibility. It's pretty cool, so have a look:
As impressive as it looks right now, there's no published launch date. However, Microsoft does plan to show off more at a mid-September developers' conference.
More on Windows 8 from msnbc.com: