Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is set for an Oct. 26 release date, and is on track for Release To Manufacturing in the first week of August. Screenshots of the version that mobile developers will be seeing next month have surfaced on the Internet over the weekend, and show a number of planned changes.
According to The Verge, the final version of Windows 8 will include a boot screen featuring the new Metro-style logo. The screenshots initially surfaced in a WinUnleaked forum, and the images also reveal that the Internet Explorer 10 desktop will interact with the color scheme of Windows 8. The forum posting included a slew of changes that users will see in Windows 8, including the following:
1. Microsoft will remove the ability to independently color the windows and the taskbar. The design of the square when selecting the color has been redesigned, the WinUnleaked user writes.
2. Internet Explorer 10 gets a new style. As mentioned above, the new Internet Explorer will interact with the color of each user's personal Windows 8 theme. The screenshots in the forum post show skins for purple and orange themes.
3. New themes and wallpapers. Fans of Windows will get to experience three default themes with the upcoming operating system: Windows, Earth and Flowers. The Earth-inspired themes' include close up nature shots with a variety of aqua and earthy tones. The Flower backgrounds offer an array of colors as well.
4. Lock screen backgrounds. Six new lock screen wallpapers were revealed on the website, which include a dark navy shot, a close-up beehive honeycomb texture, a mauve shade with some colorful slanted stripes, a fast-paced motion image of a metropolitan background and a zoomed-in picture of a glossy guitar body.
5. Boot screen with Metro interface. As previously mentioned, Microsoft fans can get a glimpse of the new boot screen that has been given a Metro revamp.
Windows 8 is incredibly stable and fast, it's far better than Windows 7 in all ways, the author behind the post known as vNext wrote. But he did note that the information in the post is subject to change as the final build is assembled. The build pictured in the screenshots is the 8518 from the WIN8_RTM branch.
A recent post from Microsoft also details upgraded hardware specs that fans will be seeing in Windows 8. The company will be approaching the graphical user interface from two different perspectives, raw performance and battery life. Microsoft plans to address both of these factors with by rolling out a unified graphics subsystem embodied in DirectX 11.1. Doing this would involve balancing the process of rendering text, shapes and image between the CPU and the GPU.
Check out the official Building Windows 8 blog to get a step-by-step walkthrough of the new operating system from an engineering standpoint.