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Microsoft gives developers preview of Windows 8

by Kelly MacNeil on September 14, 2011

In the hopes of re-establishing itself among the software giants, Microsoft recently unveiled its latest operating system, Windows 8, that offers users both touch-screen capabilities as well as traditional computer characteristics. The versatility offered by the OS may prove to be a smart move for the company, especially as it tries to keep up with Apple, Fox News reports.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Windows 8 is that it can be operated through a number of different means including touchscreen, mouse or pen, making it adaptable to any medium. Though it may be primarily made for touch, the news source reports that when a keyboard and mouse are attached the screen changes to adjust.

The system also has an innovative password function. Although users can employ a password in the traditional sense, it also offers the opportunity to create a photo password thanks to its touchscreen capabilities. Specifically, this function allows users to perform three acts on a selected picture that may be easier to remember than a word, but no less difficult for a stranger to guess.

Though some experts have been impressed with Windows 8 in the early going, it may be a little while before it becomes available to the general public. According to Reuters, about 5,000 tablets outfitted with the OS have been given to developers, and Microsoft is expected to start selling devices with Windows 8 as early as the middle of next year. Other developers were able to download a preview of the OS on Tuesday as well.

The shift toward a more touch-friendly OS and an emphasis on tablet technology is expected to bring Microsoft back on the level with Apple, most experts say.

"Kids today are seeing more Apple logos than Microsoft logos, and Microsoft needs to change that if they are going to continue being the force that they have been," analyst Michael Silver told the news agency.

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