Microsoft windows for 2012
The next version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, Windows 8, could be anything from a few months to more than a year away.
Windows, The Official Magazine, has quoted Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows at Microsoft, as saying: "Somewhere between 24 and 36 months between releases is what we aim for."
The current version, Windows 7, was released in October 2009, which means the earliest Windows 8 could appear is this October and the latest October 2012.
Last week Microsoft launched a developer version of the operating system, intended for demonstration purposes only, fuelling speculation the full release will be sooner rather than later.
Windows 8, currently being tested by the likes of Hamilton software tester Colin Hopper, will start faster than its predecessor and run on any personal computer that Windows 7 runs on.
Video, posted online by the Windows 8 team, shows a new user interface (UI) that mimics the look of Windows Phone 7. It uses square tiles, rather than icons, to take you to different aspects of Windows such as Documents, Pictures and Videos and applications such as Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Media Player. The large tiles are designed for touch enabled devices, such as the HP TouchSmart personal computer, and will ensure consistency across multiple devices such as smart phones, tablet computer and personal computers.
Microsoft confirmed, at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier in the year, that Windows 8 was being written with ARM microprocessors in mind that run tablet computers. More reliability, and better security are also on the cards.
Microsoft has also reportedly promised the release of its Mango update for the Windows Phone 7 operating system in the next couple of weeks.