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Microsoft Shows Off Win8 Tablet OS

It’s being adapted for touchscreens as well as conventional keyboard-based PCs

Microsoft previewed a prototype Windows 8 operating system running on both ARM and x86 architectures Wednesday at the Computex show in Taiwan as well as at the D9 conference in California.

It's being adapted for touchscreens as well as conventional keyboard-based PCs and is supposed to integrate Skype. Like Microsoft's phone OS it uses tiles instead of icons for navigating between applications and getting instant Twitter or weather updates.

Microsoft not only wants to be backward-compatible with legacy software, it also wants the thing to work with existing peripherals.

In an effort to get the thing out before Apple and Google tablets take over the world Microsoft has reportedly told chipmakers to work with only one tablet and clamshell maker apiece, which has got people upset although Google does the same thing. The Wall Street Journal says it heard a lot of Taiwan companies have been excluded from the first round.

Microsoft is working with Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments.

The widgetry, which is billed as the biggest overhaul of the fabled operating system since Windows 95 16 years ago, isn't likely to be out before next year, putting it two years behind Apple.

Expect additional information, maybe even APIs, at Microsoft's developer conference in the fall.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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