Microsoft’s BUILD conference debuts this week, out in sunny California. While there will no doubt be discussion on a number of Microsoft’s properties, only one thing is at the front of everyone’s mind: Windows 8. Will Microsoft’s next operating system go to into beta this week? We’ve learned a lot about the system so far, including the fact that it’ll ship with a touch-oriented Start menu that’s been redesigned from the ground up.
What else could we see? There are a few rumors and glimmers circling the web, such as the idea that Windows 8 might include compatibility to play your Xbox360 games. Such a move seems unlikely at best, especially since the Xbox runs a PowerPC-derived CPU rather than an x86 model. It’s not too difficult to think that Microsoft might selectively allow some Xbox Live Marketplace games such an opportunity, however.
Most fans and enthusiasts alike are waiting with bated breath to see if Microsoft will release an early version of the OS to the public. There is some precedent for it; a community preview and beta program was launched for its predecessor, Windows 7. The program was an unqualified success for Microsoft, with hundreds of thousands of users actively contributing to the bug reporting process; particularly exhaustive volunteers were rewarded with a free copy of Windows 7.
As BUILD goes on this week, we’ll be sure to cover the latest news on Microsoft’s newest operating system; until then, to what feature are you most looking forward? There’s a rumored new file system code-named Protogon, that looks to be an improved variant of NTFS. New menuing systems, new touchscreen features, native ISO and PDF support – the list goes on.