The last few years have seen a dramatic shift in how we interact with our computers. Gone are the days when you would run multiple applications; gone are the days when your operating system would have to carefully manage memory and multitasking — today, the vast majority of users simply use a web browser.
Rather than going down the Chrome OS route, though, Microsoft has opted for a hybridized approach with Windows 8. From what we’ve seen, it looks like the Windows 7 kernel will still underpin the operating system, but on top will be an HTML5-powered tiled interface. Apps for Windows 8 will be developed in HTML5 and CSS, using new tools that Microsoft hasn’t yet released, and executed using Internet Explorer 10, or a variant of it. The key to this approach is the inclusion of the Windows 7 subsystem: Microsoft can’t just give up on the vast library of legacy Windows apps, but at the same time, Microsoft needs to usher developers towards cross-platform HTML-based apps if it wants to survive the mobile computing land rush. Basically, Windows 8 will be Windows 7, but with a transparent web browser that loads at boot time and executes HTML-based apps.
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