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In his CeBIT keynote speech, Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft Corp., showed how Windows 8 will bring together the potential of a tablet with the power of a PC. He also invited IT professionals around the world to test the recently released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, now available for download at http://preview.windows.com. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers a more robust experience for testing the world’s most popular operating system and is available to the widest range of people yet following the initial release of the Windows 8 Developer Preview late last year.

“Windows 8 will deliver no compromise experiences on a range of devices from tablets and PCs to desktops. It will give people functionality they love and the enterprise-grade capabilities that IT departments demand,” Turner said. “We encourage IT professionals to begin using it to get a firsthand experience of how Windows 8 will give people a beautiful, fast and fluid experience with the mobility and familiarity they need to effortlessly move between what they want to do and what they need to do.”

“We believe Windows 8 will bring an evolutionary solution to Windows users that delivers business productivity, while helping IT to manage and secure new devices using their existing infrastructure and tools,” said Al Gillen, program vice president, system software, IDC. “Windows 8 will help bridge the demands that end users are placing on IT departments with what IT wants for its business — a smooth transitional path to add tablet devices into an existing Windows client infrastructure.”

- Press Release

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I think it’s great that Windows is trying to reinvent themselves, but I am not feeling their current efforts with the Windows 8 consumer preview. The logo itself is inexcusable in my opinion. A flattened version of the original, they cut the wavy look and turned the windows logo into four squares in what looks to be a simple perspective tweak in Photoshop. It doesn’t even remind me of a window anymore. The Windows 8 font is nothing new and exciting and the new one color palette scheme in bright blue is not working in any sense of the word in my opinion.

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As for the new interface, I’m not a huge fan of the concept as a collective although I like the minimalistic approach that Windows is taking compared to their old over saturated UI. The new color scheme reminds me of my kindergarten teacher handing out construction paper and the blocky interface doesn’t help to ignore that. Overall it looks like Windows just took the mobile and tablet interface and threw it on a computer.

If they were going to sync all of their devices I think they should have started from square one. I don’t feel any warmth or sense of welcome on the homepage and to be honest I don’t feel as if I am even on an interface in general. It looks more like the template for a small companies brochure in my opinion. If I were Windows I would look to steal inspiration from Apple and Ubuntu, two leading operating systems known for their gorgeous interfaces. Hey Microsoft, you don’t need to resort to squares and generic color pallets just to be minimal!

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I hope as the beta is released and they receive more feedback that this redesign brings some redeeming updates with it. Maybe the minimalistic approach will catch on with consumers, who knows? Knowing Windows, my bet would be they will have a bunch of other packages (Home, Business, etc.) that will look like the old Windows anyway resorting to users staying in their comfort zone. Here are some of the new features that Windows is promising with the new Windows 8 package:

Tablets without compromise

Windows 8-based business tablets are built for touch and are deeply personalized. Powerful, connected Metro style applications are the focal point to create an immersive experience that helps eliminate distractions while having the productivity benefits of a PC. In addition, it works well with a mouse and keyboard. It also enables organizations to use Windows 7 productivity and line-of-business applications, and IT departments can leverage their existing infrastructure to help manage, secure and support it.

New possibilities for mobile productivity

For people who are increasingly mobile, Windows 8 helps them stay connected and productive in a more secure way. Windows 8 includes Windows To Go — the ability to provide users with a full corporate copy of Windows 8 (along with users’ business apps, data and settings) on a USB storage device. Windows 8 also includes improvements to DirectAccess and built-in mobile broadband features that natively support 3G and 4G telecommunication. And Windows 8 can stay always connected with Metro style apps.

End-to-end security

Features such as Trusted Boot and improved BitLocker drive encryption, AppLocker and claim-based access control help protect corporate data across the client device, the network and back-end infrastructure.

Advancements in virtualization

With Windows 8, users can get a virtualized experience with high-definition graphics, support for touch and support for USB devices on a local PC. It will be easier for IT departments to implement virtual desktop infrastructures in a more cost-effective way. In addition, Windows 8 includes Microsoft Hyper-V, a high-performing client virtualization technology that enables enterprise developers to develop, debug and test multiple configurations of apps and operating systems on a single PC instead of each configuration requiring its own PC.

Improved management

Windows 8 easily integrates into most existing client management infrastructures, and management tasks are easier with Windows PowerShell automation.

Download the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview now:

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