Remember only a year and a half ago when you finally could upgrade to Windows 7? Well Microsoft apparently doesn't since they've released a test build to certain companies of Windows 7's successor: Windows 8. Despite Microsoft's apparent lack of interest in the Tablet PC market, this upgrade would essentially be for those brand of computers, or "slates" as some are calling them. Smartphones will also be able to use this technology providing, we assume, some sort of crossover between your Windows Phone 7 and your Windows operating system.
ARM Microchip Architecture will power this upcoming software for your PC. Usually Microsoft had relied on an x86 architecture made by AMD or Intel but the ARM brand is the kind mainly used to support Tablets and Smartphones, which many consider to be the wave of the future that could eventually replace PCs as we know them today.
The obvious graphical enhancement this operating system upgrade will provide will also include 3D support, facial recognition, instant-on abilities as well as a Windows App Store that we would assume would also cross over with the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile. Microsoft's already in the hole in this area thought as most Tablets and Smartphones already possess these technologies as their operating systems have previously been built on the microchip that Microsoft is using for Windows 8. The iPad, King of Tablets, has all of these capabilities for example.
The small amount of Tablets Microsoft's operating systems are available on now use Intel's Atom processor but the use of the ARM OS will allow Microsoft to greatly expand its market and possibly allow its Smartphone technology and the proposed Windows App Store to invade other phones besides Windows Phone 7 though that seems unlikely.
What they are trying to achieve, most likely, is the takeover of the Tablet market. Few of these devices are run on Windows Operating systems. When many out there are predicting that these computers, once they become more mainstream and affordable, can replace the PCs that we have now, Microsoft runs the risk of not being OS king anymore if they actually do take over. Some would say they've been resting on their laurels for far too long concerning the Tablet market and they've finally woken up.
While the Windows 8 name isn't official, it's widely believed according to employees to be the name going forward as the 8th iteration of the system.
The operating system could very well be available this holiday season but since it's widely believed by analysts that Microsoft will not have its ARM system up and operating that quickly, analysts believe the operating system will be available sometime between summer and the first fiscal quarter of 2012, only 2 years after Windows 7 was launched.
Hopefully this operating system upgrade will finally be substantial enough for Microsoft's sake to get people to upgrade from XP and possibly Vista. The last few updates have been so close to together and provided nothing huge so few people saw any reason to invest in an upgrade. A staggering number still use XP for example. Microsoft finally has to have a worthwhile incentive to upgrade and maybe the ARM based system will be it. We'll just have to wait and see.