BUILD 2011: Windows 8 keynote highlights

BUILD 2011: Windows 8 keynote highlights

Microsoft has just finished their first keynote at their developer event in California called BUILD. You will be able to download Windows 8 at 1PM AEST from this website. The keynote was dedicated to Windows 8 and here are some of the highlights out of the keynote in chronological order.

  • First Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows, came on stage to roll out some stats. Windows 7 has sold 450,000,000 copies, bringing it closer to Windows XP in usage.
  • 1,502 updates for Windows 7 have been rolled out to computers and this doesn’t include security fixes.
  • Sinofsky then goes on to talk about tablet computers and other new form factors. “I promise you, the minute you use a touch device with Windows 8, the moment you go back to your laptop or desktop, you’ll have fingerprints all over your screen.”
  • Everything that runs on Windows 7 runs on Windows 8.

  • “All of the demos we’re going to show you today work equally well on ARM as they do on x86.” Windows 8 also has a smaller footprint than Windows 7.

  • Julie Larson-Green now demos user-experience.
  • “The Start screen is Windows.” All she had to do to get there is, almost exactly like in Windows Phone 7, swipe up and enter her password at the lockscreen. Then she is instantly in the Start Screen.
  • The homescreen is filled with live-tiles, also like Windows Phone 7.
  • You can pinch-to-zoom out and reveal the whole Start screen with labels.
  • Everything is metro and everything works in the new UI. Control Panel, for example, is shown in the demo with a Metro UI.
  • She then shows some Windows 8 applications. These are full screen and the demo included a word game, an RSS reader, and a video application.
  • Multitasking is also shown. To access the menu you drag from the left bezel and then can run two apps side by side, something no other modern tablet OS (iOS or Android) does.
  • IE 10 is then shown with Sinofsky saying, “I don’t think anything is better than a Chrome-less browsing experience.” The audience applauded and laughed.
  • Also Charms were shown, which were little shortcuts that make the apps from Windows 8 work together. This could be something such as sharing something via email or social networks from IE 10.
  • Search is also “improved”, with the ability to search any application or the internet. Again Microsoft is shoving Bing down our throats, which is pretty annoying. Hopefully there will be a choice to change the search engine, but I doubt it.


  • The Windows 8 Store (pretty much an App Store) was also shown off, with things like app trials and other cool things.
  • After a lot of developer tools, such as Expression Blend 5, are shown, the show turned into a hardware-fest.
  • Next the Windows “Professional Preview” is shown, which is basically Windows 7 with a slightly different skin.
  • The Control Panel is shown in the “Professional Preview” and has features such as wipeing the PC to stock. They call it “refreshing it”, but it’s basically a built-in recovery partition.
  • Remote-PC is shown and also the Hyper-V manager is. You can mount VHD and ISO images as a drive.
  • Some multi-monitor options are shown, such as having Metro on one screen and Professional on the other.
  • Chris Jones, senior vice president of Windows Live, comes out to show syncing capabilities. Things such as a Mail and Calendar client that are very metro. The Contacts app pulls pictures from SkyDrive, Facebook, Flickr and other connected services. Hopefully you can use a Google account. There is also interesting photo integration, such as treating Skydrive as local storage.
  • There is also a list of things not shown.

Windows 8 is definately touch-focused and currently looks like it’ll work much better with touch than with mouse and keyboard. You can get our full impressions of the Windows 8 beta very soon so stay tuned to or download the beta for yourself at the top of the page. These were just highlights, so if we missed anything hit us up in the comments below.

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