It’s just a sneak peek, but Microsoft made a good first impression tonight with its first ever preview of Windows 8. The company’s next big OS looks a lot like Windows Phone 7, but it brings some nifty new gestures and other features to the table. As you can see from the above screenshot, Windows 8 (it’s just a codename for now) features a Start screen with an app store and Live Tiles, which deliver helpful info and notifications. Switching between recently used apps is as easy as flicking from the left side of the screen, while flicking from right to left launches a settings panel. This panel shows a Share feature, which we assume means social networking is integrated more deeply into Windows 8.
As you’ll see in the video, Windows 8 will include two touch keyboards, one of which is split to make it more thumb friendly. Of course, you’ll also have access to a full file system, but Windows 8 web apps will also have their own “file pickers,” and you’ll be able to easily access files across machines on your network.
Time will tell if this radical Windows 8 interface will win over consumers or if just comes across as a fancy skin. But this is definitely a promising start as far as we’re concerned.