Microsoft Windows boss shares more hints on Windows 8 features

Microsoft has 35 different feature teams building Windows 8. The list provides some new official confirmation and additional clues on what to expect with the next Windows release.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky is continuing to trickle out introductory posts on the new "Building Windows 8" blog. In the August 17 installment, he shared -- as he did three years ago with Windows 7 -- a list of the feature teams building the next version of Windows.

Sinofsky blogged that Microsoft has 35 different feature teams, each with 25 to 40 developers, plus testers and program managers -- in the Windows 8 organization. The word "feature" may mean an area or a component in Windows. Here's the Windows 8 feature-team list:

App Compatibility and Device Compatibility App Store Applications and Media Experience App Experience Core Experience Evolved Device Connectivity Devices & Networking Experience Ecosystem Fundamentals Engineer Desktop Engineering System Enterprise Networking Global Experience Graphics Platform Hardware Developer Experience Human Interaction Platform Hyper-V In Control of Your PC Kernel Platform Licensing and Deployment Media Platform Networking Core Performance Presentation and Composition Reliability, Security, and Privacy Runtime Experience Search, View, and Command Security & Identity Storage & Files Systems Sustained Engineering Telemetry User-Centered Experience Windows Online Windows Update Wireless and Networking services XAML

So what's new and different here?

First, because the Softies have shared so few details so far about Windows 8 (even though there's been lots of hacking and speculation about what's inside, thanks to leaked slides and builds), many things that Microsoft pundits consider to be known about Windows 8 still haven't gotten the "official" nod.

As of today, we now know for sure that there will be an App Store in Windows 8 (something we've expected since June 2010). "Hyper-V" seems to confirm that Hyper-V will be built into the client and server versions of Windows 8. And the inclusion of XAML -- developers of which were reorg'd into the Windows division earlier this summer -- may give those with .Net and Silverlight expertise another glimmer of hope that the Windows 8 development story won't be just about HTML5 and JavaScript.

For some guesses on my part: "In Control of Your PC" could mean a lot of things, possibly even that Windows 8 will include built-in support for the Kinect sensor. "Search, View and Command" also could be Kinect-related, given Microsoft's recent demos and pronouncements about Tellme voice support being built into Windows 8. "Windows Online" has me most intrigued, especially given that it is listed separately from "Windows Update."

For comparison's sake, here's a list of some of the feature teams that Sinofsky provided in August 2008 when he first began blogging about Windows 7:

Applets and Gadgets Assistance and Support Technologies Core User Experience Customer Engineering and Telemetry Deployment and Component Platform Desktop Graphics Devices and Media Devices and Storage Documents and Printing Engineering System and Tools File System Find and Organize Fundamentals Internet Explorer (including IE 8 down-level) International Kernel & VM Media Center Networking - Core Networking - Enterprise Networking - Wireless Security User Interface Platform Windows App Platform

Windows 8 sleuths: What else do you glean (if anything) from Sinofsky's latest blog post? One of my Twitter chums, Martin Anderson, notes that it looks like Media Center has disappeared from the feature list with Windows 8, which may surprise some, but seem like a sad confirmation to others.

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