A Neowin article seems to indicate that Windows 8 has got a tentative release date of July 2011 which would mean just under 2 years between releases if this was true.
Certainly this seems to be a LOT quicker release schedule than we are accustom. However Microsoft did reduce the 6 year gap of Windows XP to Windows Vista down to 3 years with Windows Vista to Windows 7. So maybe a 2 year gap between Windows 7 and 8 is not going to be that unreasonable. This could mean Microsoft is going for a more incremental upgrade approach rather than the big leap approach like with Windows Vista that I am sure Microsoft does not want to repeat.
If this is the case we could well expect to see the beta of Windows 8 by the end of the year which seems more likely as screenshots have now started to leaked of a post Windows 7 build. These screenshots appears to show that this latest version was only compiled on the 22nd January 2010 at 7pm. .
The screenshots don’t indicate any new features and it is still sporting Internet Explorer 8 and not Internet Explorer 9 that Microsoft is has already previewed.
The really major news with this new build is that the Beta Fish is back as the default background image.
. At least equally important, if not even more so, is the way in which, with Windows 7 Microsoft is bringing natural user interfaces to the mainstream. And the Redmond company will continue to push onward with the evolution of the GUI and explore new boundaries for NUI beyond multitouch. Obviously, the best candidate for the next generation of NUI/GUI to come to life is the upcoming iteration of the Windows client, Windows 8.
According to Microsoft, Windows 8 planning is already underway, and this is also valid for the user experience aspect of the operating system. Moreover, it appears that the software giant’s efforts are multifaceted, and not only internal, as the company has tapped UX and UI guns for hire.
“We are the Seattle based Human Computer Interaction Specialists. Give us a try and you will see why Microsoft has chosen us to be involved with Windows 8 planning,” reads the description of an NUI and UX Designer, Ron George who left Microsoft to start his own design outfit. (via MSFTKitchen)
Windows 7, under the lead of Julie Larson-Green, corporate vice president, Windows Experience, has reached a new apex in terms of the Windows Aero graphical user interface with a complete overhaul of the Taskbar, and essentially a revamping of the way end users launch, switch, and revisit Windows applications. At the same time, Windows 7 brings to the table native multitouch support and the necessary application programming interfaces (API) to allow all software to take advantage of the NUI.
Microsoft is not yet ready to talk Windows 8, no matter how scarce the details would be. Actually, despite the fact that employees refer to the Windows 8 project constantly, the company has yet to even confirm the validity of the codename.
Still, it is clear that the software giant has started preparing for Windows 8, and it is also clear that GUI and NUI efforts are integral part of the planning process. In addition, it’s worth mentioning that NUI goes beyond multitouch, and that the company has officially expressed the position that voice/speech might be the new touch.
“I have never worked on the core Windows Team. I did lend a hand in Windows 7 with the Touch Pack while I was at Surface. I am also currently involved in Windows 8 (I know that answer perks your ears up, haha). When I think back about 15 years to when I started doing this, Windows is where I wanted to land,” George added for MSFTKitchen.