Windows 8 (which my sources claim recently hit Milestone 1) is starting to take shape.
Microsoft's next version of Windows client is far enough along that the Windows team seems to have begun sharing details about its goals with Microsoft's PC partners. A leaked slide deck -- excerpts of which first appeared on the Web site of blogger Francisco Martin Garcia -- don't reveal a whole lot in terms of specific features. But they do look like the real deal, as Microsoft Kitchen blogger Stephen Chapman -- who pulled out even more of the slides in his post -- noted.
The leaked slides (dating from April 2010) reference "Windows 8," not "Windows v.Next" (the Windows client team's preferred codename these days). They indicate that the next version of Windows, which is expected by many to ship in 2012, will possibly offer some of these features:
- Fast startup (Huzzah!): A new feature combining Logoff and Hibernate to result will give the look and feel of boot/shutdown be faster
- Slates mentioned specifically as a target form factor: It will be interesting to see how Microsoft distinguishes between slates running Windows Embedded Compact and slates running Windows 8
- Push-button reset: A button "that will essentially reinstall Windows while maintaining all of your personal files, applications, settings, etc. without the need for the user to back all of that stuff up," as Stephen Chapman of Microsoft Kitchen describes it
- Support for facial recognition as one of the ways identity management/log in will be handled
- IE 9 (no surprise there): With another confirmation of August as being the target for the first beta (though I could see this possibly slipping a bit)
- More thorough help and support, enabling users to do more fixing of issues on their own
- A Windows App Store (mentioned in the section on push-button reset)
Microsoft isn't commenting (so far) on the slides and isn't even confirming that they are "Genuine" Windows 8 PowerPoints -- or how much they reflect current reality. However, I'd note the date on these slides is April 2010 and they sure have the vague look and feel of early Windows documentation.