We had a gut feeling Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky was going to show off Windows 8 at D9, and that's exactly what he took the stage to do. While Sinofsky showed a very early preview of the future operating system (yes, we're talking wires hanging out of the box), it's extremely clear that the new OS is a melding of Windows 7 and Microsoft's Metro UI. The "start screen," which works a lot like a layer running over regular Windows, is tile based and will provide easy access to applications. Sinofsky hammered home the point that these were just apps running over Windows and that you could always return to your regular desktop. That said, the entire OS has been designed for touch input and includes a revamped keyboard.
As for hardware, Microsoft was very clear to point out that Windows 8 requires fewer resources than other versions of Windows and that it will work with both x86 and ARM processors. The demo at D9 was done on Intel based laptops and all-in-ones, but the demos at Computex tonight will be on ARM-based hardware. Regardless, the message seems to be that Windows 8 will work across different devices and different form factors.
What else did we learn? Not too much. More features will be shown off in September at Microsoft's Developers event and Windows 8 is only a codename at this point. Hit the break for a few more shots and a quick video demo of the new features.