Let me preface this by saying that anything and everything mentioned on this page is subject to change, and probably will be changed. I’ll try and stay on top of Microsoft Windows 8 development when possible, but just know that things revolving around Windows 8 are subject to change.
Naming and Release
At the 2009 Professional Developers Conference (PDC), Microsoft released some information saying that Windows 8 would be released sometime in 2012. There was also a Knowledge Base (KB) article that referenced Windows 8. Back in June of 2010, there were some leaked documents indicating features targeted for Windows 8 as well as plans to release Windows 8 in 2012. To read a little more about them, see this article at WinSuperSite.com and this article at ZDNet. In the past, it’s been called “Windows.Next”
Internet Explorer 9
This has been confirmed by Microsoft to be shipping with Windows 8, but don’t be surprised if Internet Explorer 9 ships before 2012, to run on existing Windows 7, and possibly Vista systems.
– App Store or Windows App Store, similar to Apple’s iTunes App Store for iPhones
– Make it easier for web applications to be integrated. This could tie in to HTML5-based content accessed through IE9.
– Might have Windows Live Wave 5
Hardware support and options
– More customization of Windows 8 for OEMs
– Better backup options, as well as restoring and recovering from any problems. This might include option to reinstall Windows without wiping out personal data and applications, similar to what can be done with Mac OS X.
– Might target three main areas/uses: Laptop/mobile PCs, “Workhorse PC”, and “Family Hub” PC.
– Might also target “slates” or small tablet PCs (think iPad form factor running a full copy of Windows)
– Support for more media formats, including AVC HD, 3D video (possibly 3D Blu-ray), better MPEG-4, MPEG-2, MJPEG, H.264 and WMV support.
Performance and Device Support
– Improved start times
– Better power management
– Bluetooth 3.0 (not High Speed)
– USB 3.0
– Improved location technologies, possibly some kind of Wi-Fi or GPS location technology called “Orion”
– Improved sensor support, including facial recognition