Today at Microsoft’s MIX11 conference, the company showed off Windows running a copy of the next release of Internet Explorer, IE10. The most recent iteration, IE9, just launched a few weeks ago, and Microsoft mentioned that they’re only about ten weeks of development into the new version – they want to “engage the community”.
In fact, a preview version, which means early early software not remotely ready for primetime use, is already available for download. That wasn’t the big news of the day, however, not by a long shot. No, the big news of the day was the fact that Windows was actually running IE 10 on an ARM CPU. Although the company promised that Windows 8 would be compatible with ARM processors (like those found in most smartphones and tablets).
While precise details are unknown, attendees reported that the processor was clocked at 1GHz. NVIDIA later sent out a tweet boasting about the fact that the unknown processor was actually one of their own Tegra2 system-on-a-chip (SoC) units.
Even so, that might not be the biggest Windows news to come out today. Windows 8, which is on track for release sometime next year following a probable beta program this fall, is already leaked. Some brave – or stupid, probably stupid – individual has uploaded a very early copy of Microsoft’s next-generation operating system to the net, where it has already found its way onto several private FTP sites and torrent trackers.
It’s ill-advised to go seeking it out just yet, though, as the copy that was leaked is very early along in the development cycle. The build is listed as Milestone 1, which signifies the first major “milestone”, or goal, has been achieved. Milestones 2 and 3 were roughly 4 months apart during an equivalent period in the creation of Windows 7. In fact, Windows 8 Milestone 3 is already reported to have been delievered to testers, with some rumors and tidbits leaking out.
Since it is so early, the software largely looks just like Windows 7 (which itself didn’t look markedly different from Windows Vista until at least Milestone 3, which the UI changes started to get enabled). A few notable updates to the software have been tossed out, however, like the fact that Windows 8 will be able to mount ISO files natively, not just burn them to disc. Windows 8 will also feature utilities like a built-in PDF reader and automatic Aero window coloring based on the colors of the desktop background (think of how Windows tints the icons on the taskbar).
Although it’s not yet noticeable, Windows 8 is generally thought to be a point of departure for Microsoft in terms of their design philosophy. Metro UI, first generated for the Zune line of portable media players several years ago, is slowly being transitioned to the rest of Microsoft’s product portfolio, and Windows 8 promises to bring it to the desktop. The PDF reader app, shown above, gives an idea of how programs using the new guidelines might look and feel.