Windows 8 is a big freaking deal for Microsoft

Posted by Mike Luttrell

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about Windows 8, and Microsoft keeps giving us more.

Company CEO Steve Ballmer was recently at the Dell World conference where he was understandably pumped about Microsoft's newest operating system.

He showed off a new lock screen that will let users see e-mail and social networking updates without needing to log back into their account. Microsoft also recently unveiled plans to radically overhaul the Task Manager.

"Task Manager was a unique opportunity for user experience designers and researchers working together with technical program managers and engineers to create a clean, organized, and efficient design. We made it more streamlined for mainstream users, and more detailed for power users," wrote Windows Live president Steven Sinofsky in a blog post.

All the changes revolve around what Microsoft is calling the "Metro UI," which allows users to have complete customization on their home page, including widgets, RSS readers, weather information, date/time, etc.

Metro UI will also have deep multitasking chops, giving users the ability to easily toggle back and forth between different apps and websites. The prototype unit shown at BUILD looks similar to an iPad, with virtually no buttons on the device itself. Microsoft wants touch input to be the main control mechanism, but in a way that's new and different - not just tapping, but swiping and gesturing.

That makes a lot of sense for tablets, but what's still unclear is exactly what the differences will be between the tablet version and the PC version, but Microsoft wants to be clear that everything you've seen so far is still in testing mode and always subject to change.