CES 2012 | Video: Windows 8 on Tegra 3 onstage demonstration
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During the Nvidia press conference, Microsoft senior director Aidan Marcuss made an appearance to demonstrate the yet to be released Windows 8 platform running on a tablet powered by the ARM-based quad-core Tegra 3 processor.
Marcuss started off the show with how all tablets usually start – with the user unlock screen. Here, he demonstrated Windows new “Touch First” secure login, where users must unlock the screen by drawing user-defined gestures on a custom picture. The feature is actually quite unique, as it takes advantage of both the touchscreen and the large display offered by tablets as compared to smartphones.
The unlock screen itself will also display any new apps, messages or email that the user may receive. Called “Connected Standby”, this feature of Windows 8 takes advantage of the low-power mode of the Tegra 3 processor (likely the Companion Core) to keep the tablet updated whilst drawing less power than usual.
Unlocking the screen will bring the user to the main UI, which is essentially the “Start” menu but in tile and icon form.
During the presentation, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang himself was asking tough questions for Marcuss. How will Windows 8 and ARM catch up to other tablets that have had more time to mature? How do we prevent a repeat of the relatively poor “netbook experience” on a Windows 8 tablet? The answer to both these questions, according to Marcuss, is the Windows Store. The store will supposedly be enterprise-friendly and allow developers to use a number of business models that they may be more comfortable with, be it free or paid apps. A target worldwide audience of 200 markets in 100 languages is planned for both Windows 8 tablets and the Windows Store.
Finally, Microsoft demonstrated a sample RSS reader written in HTML5 and stressed the flexibility offered by the “Windows Runtime” platform for developers. The platform can also take advantage of all four cores offered by the Tegra 3.
“We all know that Windows and Microsoft have the best developer platform on the planet,” said Huang for the ending statement. Microsoft is expected to begin working with developers on ARM-based Windows 8 tablets “within the next couple of months”, hopefully for a release later this year in both x86 and ARM platforms.