Windows 8 officially launched by Microsoft

Microsoft has officially unveiled Windows 8, it’s latest operating system that features a radical new design and touch-friendly interface.

Key to Windows 8 is its new touch-influenced desktop start screen that is filled with large square icons called Live Tiles. These morph and change as, for instance, your email app gets a new email, or a friend posts a new picture to Facebook.

The classic mouse-oriented desktop of old is available too but is always a mouse click, gesture or keyboard shortcut away.

Windows 8 Laptop

Microsoft also promises better performance, faster boot up time (up to 36% reduction) and longer battery life (up to 13% increase), while all existing Windows 7-compaitble software will also work on Windows 8.

“Windows 8 is a major milestone in the evolution and revolution of computing” said President of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, Steven Sinofsky.

“Windows 8 is simply the best release of Windows ever” he continued.

Windows 8 RT

Alongside Windows 8 for standard PCs, Microsoft also announced Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 that will work on tablet-type devices that run on ARM processors, as opposed to x86 processors found in normal laptops and PCs which are made by the likes of Intel and AMD.

Microsoft Surface Tablet

Microsoft Surface

One example of these Windows RT devices is Microsoft’s own Microsoft Surface, which is also launching today. The Microsoft Surface price is set at £399, making it a direct competitor to the Apple iPad 4. the 10in tablet features a magnetic cover like Apple’s Smart Cover but it includes a touch sensitive keyboard too.

Windows 8 retail boxes

Windows 8 Laptops, PCs and Tablet

Many third part manufacturers have also launched new devices to take advantage of the touch-friendly nature of Windows 8. These include the folding laptop the Lenovo Yoga, the dual-screen Asus Tai chi and the spinning Dell XPS Duo 12.

Windows 8 Release Date and Price

Windows 8 will be available to buy from midnight tonight, 25
October, with prices starting at £24.99 for a download-only upgrade
version all the way up to several hundred pounds for full retail, reusable versions.

Will you be upgrading to Windows 8? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook or the comments below.

Still not sure if you’re tempted? Read our full Windows 8 review for the full lowdown.

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