Microsoft is expected to offer the first public peek at its new operating system on Tuesday at a conference for Windows developers.
The software giant has described Windows 8 as the most significant upgrade to its ubiquitous operating system since the company adopted the desktop, mouse and the graphical user interface with Windows 95.
Prior to that, personal computers running Microsoft’s operating systems were text—based and could only be operated by typing in commands.
Naturally, the technology world is holding its breath for details of the new operating system, which is designed to be touch—screen friendly and compatible with both traditional PCs and tablet computers.
Microsoft has been quiet about what to expect at its Build Windows Conference, which starts Tuesday in Los Angeles, but announced Monday that it would live stream a keynote address by Windows chief Steve Sinofsky, which it said would “reveal important facts about Windows 8.”
Microsoft has previously said that the new OS would feature live tiles with notifications from Faceboook, email, calendar and other apps, and would dramatically improve start—up times when turning on the computer. Windows 8 will be the first Microsoft operating system designed to work both with Intel’s traditional PC architecture and the ARM chips that are used to run many tablets and smartphones.
The operating system is expected to hit the market in 2012, succeeding Windows 7, which is the most successful operating system in Microsoft’s history with more than 400 million copies sold.
Analysts see Windows 8 as crucial to Microsoft’s future and its only chance of closing the gap with Apple and Google over the burgeoning demand for tablet computers, a market that is cannibalizing traditional laptops and is expected to reach sales of 300 million units per year by 2015, according to research firm Gartner.