1. It’s one to rule them all

Many tech pundits have claimed that is ’s attempt at beating the . They’re wrong. With , Microsoft is redefining computing on every platform. The reality is that the that runs on a tablet is exactly the same as the that runs on a desktop. At the moment, Microsoft’s keeping schtum about mobile phones, but it’s pretty obvious to us that will soon find a home there too. ′s new Metro interface is a boon for touchscreen devices, but it’ll also work with a mouse and keyboard, as shown off in this great demo from ThisIsMyNext below.

2. Finally, Windows comes to ARM

ARM processors are by far the most popular in the mobile world. Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad run on variants of ARM’s architecture, and Microsoft’s decision to support ARM hardware with Windows 8 is a huge leap forward. It means manufacturers will be able to create low-power devices using ARM hardware that still run Windows 8. Windows 8 won’t let you run Intel apps on an ARM device, so it’s far from a seamless transition, but it’s a step in the right direction and Microsoft, along with developers, have a year to iron things out and make sure everything you’d need to work on an ARM device, works on an ARM device.

With ARM support confirmed, expect lots of Windows 8 tablets and, yes, smartphones. Apple and Google have a new competitor to worry about.

3. It’s fast. Really fast.

Windows 8 runs on very weak devices. According to Microsoft, it’ll cope with an Atom processor and 1GB of RAM, meaning even older netbooks can join in the fun. The upshot for beefier laptops and tablets, however, is that it’ll simply fly. Check out this video of Microsoft’s Windows 8 booting in just 8 seconds, and prepare to pick your jaw off the floor.

4. It redefines tablet multi-tasking

We love the iPad, but multitasking is still a chore. We’re sick of double clicking the home button every few minutes, just to check our e-mail. Windows 8 promises an end to that annoying feeling of running one app at a time, by letting you snap two into the screen at once. On a smaller device, it’s going to feel cramped, sure, but on larger tablets you’ll be able to surf the web, play games, and still keep an eye on an all-important twitter, e-mail or app while you’re doing so. Check it out in action below.

5. A better breed of app store

The Windows 8 app store might not be a new idea in itself, but there are lots of fresh goodies inside. Our favourite is the ability to trial any app, without paying for it first. It’s a feature already present in Windows Phone 7′s App Store, but on tablets and the desktop will change the way we buy apps. No more limited or ‘lite’ versions. Just full apps, and the ability to truly try before you buy.

6. Connected standby

While Apple’s iOS is limited to fairly simple push notifications and some background multitasking, Windows 8 boasts Connected Standby. It’s a system designed mostly for ARM-powered devices running Windows 8, and enables the OS to operate for long periods of time, but using very small amounts of power. Some apps will run while your Windows 8 tablet is effectively “asleep”, so when you fire it up, all your latest updates are waiting. E-mails will automatically download, as will attachments. What’s more, some apps can continue to function while you’re catching up on your beauty sleep.

It’s closer to Android’s functionality than iOS, actually, but with Windows 8 running desktop-class applications as well as mobile apps, there might actually be a few bits of software we’d want to leave running all day and all night.

7. A proper file system

We can’t overstate the importance of this one enough. If you’ve ever tried to copy files off an iPad, or been forced to go hunting through an Android device to find a file to add as an e-mail attachment, you’ll share our pain: Mobile computing has advanced at terriffic speed, but somehow our tried and tested file management systems got muddled up along the way.

Apple’s approach is incredibly simplistic, and while tablet newcomers will be reassured that they “can’t break anything” in Apple’s ecosystem, anyone used to using a desktop PC will fast become infuriated. Likewise, Android’s file system is better, but far from easy to use. Windows 8 looks likely to strike a happy medium at last.

For those using a more traditional desktop or laptop, the experience is being cleaned up too. Check it out in the video below.

8. It points us toward the future…

Microsoft has just given developers their first taste of Windows 8, but it’s far from finished. There’s no mention of support for some of Microsoft’s most exciting technologies yet: Kinect, voice recognition and facial recognition are all notable by their absences. Make no mistake though, Windows 8 will include all these goodies, and the countdown to a new age of interacting with our PCs has already begun.

569753e6afMetro.jpg 450x281 8 reasons Windows 8 has us excited

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8 reasons Windows 8 has us excited