We’ve had a glimpse at the future of Windows. Screenshots from Windows 8 have been discovered by Russian Twitter user Alicans35, revealing an influence from Windows Phone 7 and a possible new version for tablets.
The screenshots show that the next version of Microsoft’s business software Office, Office 15, uses the clean interface styling developed for Windows Phone 7. Codenamed Metro, the look and feel of the Windows 8 interface is focused on clear lettering and icons to make it easy to navigate.
Alicans35 posted several pics on his Twitter feed, including super-exciting shots of Excel, PowerPoint, the Office commands tab and a video of Word in scintillating action.
A recent job advert posted by Microsoft called for a software designer to work on Outlook, specifically mentioning tablets and mobile phones as well as computers. It’s still not clear whether that means Microsoft will make different versions of Windows for each type of device, or make a version of Windows that fits all sizes of screen.
Currently, tablets run Windows 7. Windows 7 supports touching and tapping the screen so it can be used on a touchscreen tablet, but the size and layout is designed for monitors and can be fiddly on a smaller screen.
Microsoft makes a separate operating system, Windows Phone 7, with large clear icons for smaller screens. Gates’ gang could continue with just the two versions, or come up with a tablet version of Windows that would combine the roominess of the desktop with the simplicity of the phone version. If Windows 8 does draw heavily on Windows Phone 7, the desktop version may be more suited to tablets.
Apple makes a different version of its operating system for the desktop, iPad 2 tablet, and iPhone. Google makes different versions of its Android software for tablets and phones.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper Microsoft vs Apple scrap over operating systems, so we’re pleased to see another donnybrook brewing. Mac OS X Lion is roaring towards MacBook laptops and iMac desktop computers this year.