Windows 8 Details Leak; App Store On The Way?

Over the weekend, Francisco Martin Garcia, a Microsoft Active Professional partner based in Madrid, Spain, posted purported internal Microsoft slides that suggest Windows 8 will include faster startup times, 3-D graphics support, USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, and the ability for users to log in via facial recognition technology.

The blog Microsoft Kitchen published several additional slides Monday that are dated April 2010. The information in the slides is sparse, but there are plenty of revealing tidbits.

With Windows 8, Microsoft is planning to launch an application store from which users will be able to buy apps for PCs and other devices that run Windows. One slide describes it as "Store as a Service" and notes that Microsoft sees its developer army as a significant advantage to getting up and running quickly.

"It's clear that the 'Windows Store' will be a software service Microsoft provides and hosts fully in the cloud," the Microsoft blog Neowin reported Monday. "The company will likely build the distribution model on Windows Azure to lure application developers."

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Windows 8 will also give partners plenty of opportunities to differentiate their hardware and software through customization. In one slide titled "How Apple Does It", Microsoft notes how the user experience associated with Apple products helps quickly establish their value in the minds of consumers. While Apple fans will feel vindicated by this, Microsoft can legitimately say it's able to give customers want they want in a way that it wasn't able to prior to Windows 7.

Performance in Windows 8 is also earmarked for improvement. For slates and laptops, Microsoft is focusing on resume-from-sleep performance of less than one second, according to one slide. "Windows 8 PCs turn on fast, nearly instantly in some cases, and are ready to work without any long or unexpected delays," reads one of the purported Microsoft slides.

Microsoft is also planning to connect Windows accounts to the cloud so that users' settings and preferences can follow them to any device they use, according to one slide.

A Microsoft representative told CRN the company is still investigating the validity of the slides. However, given the company's unwavering refusal to comment on Windows 7-related rumors that surfaced prior to its launch, it's a good bet that "Microsoft doesn't comment on future versions of Windows" will be the official response.