Windows 8 unveiled in New York
The world watched as Microsoft launched its Windows 8 operating system in New York
The world watched as Microsoft launched its Windows 8 operating system and branded it "magical" and "revolutionary" at an event in New York.
The radically redesigned software aims to bridge the gap between personal computers and fast-growing mobile devices. Windows 8 embraces touchscreen technology and can run on a range of devices including PCs, tablets, laptops and hybrids.
It made its debut at a glitzy ceremony at the Pier 57 building on the banks of the Hudson River in Manhattan before the glitterati of global technology journalism and a world of tech lovers following online.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the company had "truly re-imagined Windows" in what is the biggest change to its dominant operating system in nearly two decades.
Ballmer said Windows 8 hailed "a new era of Microsoft and for our customers". He claimed the new OS would help put Windows at the core of everyday life, whether we're using our PCs at work, surfing our tablets at home or watching our TVs.
He added: "Windows 8 shatters perceptions of what a PC now really is. Windows 8 will help you do everything and will make it a lot of fun, frankly, to do ... nothing."
Microsoft's head of Windows Steven Sinofsky said the new software represented the shift from Windows 95 to the age of touchscreens, smartphones and social networking.
The operating system introduces a touchscreen-controlled interface. Among the biggest changes is the introduction of tiles, which can be moved by touching the screen. The tiles represent apps and programmes, and tapping them is all it takes to launch the software. Users can also switch to a more traditional desktop mode to control with keyboard and mouse.
Microsoft also used the New York event to launch its Surface
tablet, its first foray into manufacturing hardware.
That went on sale on Friday, along with other devices running Windows 8. Among the other new products running Windows 8 are the Sony Vaio SVT1312B4ES touchscreen ultrabook and the ASUS S200E-C157H touchscreen laptop.
Sinofsky added: "Windows 8 is simply the best release of Windows ever."