Microsoft is betting big on Windows 8’s new interface that is designed more for touch screens and tablets than keyboards and mice.
The biggest and most noticeable change happens after the machine boots, where a colorful start screen replaces the traditional desktop interface and start menu.
Applications are represented by small and large squares on the screen. Clicking or touching them launches the application, but they can also display information. For example, the weather application that comes bundled with Windows 8 will display current conditions without having to launch the app.
The design change reflects Microsoft’s decision to more aggressively pursue the mobile device market after losing significant market share to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android devices. The same week Microsoft introduced the new operating system they also introduced their Surface tablet that runs a mobile version of Windows 8 called Windows RT. The Surface operates identically to the desktop version of Windows 8, although the tablet version won’t run traditional Windows applications. A more robust Surface tablet to be released later will run older desktop software.