Microsoft has made it clear for months that the next
version of the operating system will support SoC (system
on a chip) architecture, in particular ARM-based systems
from partners such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas
Instruments. That would give Microsoft increased leverage
for porting Windows onto tablets and more mobile form
factors, currently the prime market for ARM offerings.
Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and
Windows Live Division, suggested during this Janu-
ary' s Consumer Electronics Show that ª under the hood
there are a ton of differences that need to be worked
throughº with regard to SoC-supported Windows.
Nonetheless, he added, ª Windows has proven remark-
ably flexible at this under-the-hood sort of stuff.º
Microsoft isn' t anywhere close to officially announc-
ing a release date for the next version of Windows,
although there's a lot of online chatter suggesting it
could make an appearance late in 2012. With that in
mind, the features uncovered by Rivera and Thurrott,
even if accurate as an early build, could change radi-
cally by the release date.
WINDOWS 8 LEAKS
Some alleged Windows 8 screenshots are drifting around the Web, courtesy of super-bloggers Rafael
Rivera and Paul Thurrott. Neither explains how they
managed to get their hands on this alleged early build,
but they did call out three interesting features.
In any case, the pair may have uncovered pieces
that give an interesting glimpse into Microsoft's thinking as it tries to create a version of Windows that's
conducive to a rapidly evolving marketplace.
One: A revamped lock screen, heavily influenced by
Microsoft's recent mobile efforts. ª This is based, quite
clearly, on the Windows Phone 7 lock screen and is just as
attractive,º the two wrote in postings on Rivera' s ª Within
Windowsº blog. ª The display includes the time, day of
week, the date (month and day), and icons for power man-
agement (for portable machines only) and ease of access.º
Two: The addition of Microsoft's ribbon interface to
Windows Explorer. ª If Microsoft goes through with this
change, the Ribbon will replace the menu and toolbar
in today's Explorer windows,º Rivera and Thurrott wrote,
ª and as in Office, it will make many more features visibly
discoverable, albeit at the expense of onscreen real estate
and, we think, attractiveness.
ª In the current pre-release builds we' ve seen, the Ribbon
is a serious work in progress and is quite unattractive,º the
two bloggers wrote. ª It' s unclear whether Microsoft intends
to move forward with this UI as-is, or whether it will appear
only in certain UI types.º There are some indications that,
if Microsoft holds to something approximating this design,
users will have the option of disabling the ribbon.
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Three: A built-in PDF reader, with nifty functionality such
as zooming, a page scrubber and side-by-side page views.
With more corporate data being stored on mobile
devices, IT is increasingly concerned about protecting
that information. That has led to a growth of security
products that offer remote find, block and wipe capabilities. Many also prevent thieves from swapping out
the SIM card. This slideshow highlights 11 mobile
security apps across all the major platforms.