Microsoft previewed a major overhaul of its Windows operating system at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona. Steve Sinofsky, the president of Windows, introduced it as the biggest re-design of the company's software since Windows 95.
The new operating system (check out the test version here) will be available across tablets, laptops and desktops, and will roll out with new features like the Windows Store, its first online store for Windows apps. Your music, files, photos, and settings will also be stored on a "cloud" so you can find them and pick up where you left off across devices.
Windows 8 incorporates the Metro interface, which you may recognize from Windows phones. In addition to a different look and feel, you will have the option to navigate -- switch between apps, move things around, pan, zoom and swipe between things -- on any touch-based PC without a mouse or keyboard.
Microsoft watchers have long said the reception of the new OS could be indicative of whether it will be able to compete successfully with the likes of Apple and Google.
Here are some of the early reactions to Windows 8:
"Disjointed is the key word that comes to mind after you spend some time with Windows 8. As a tablet OS, if you can keep in Metro land, things feel good. Very good. The gestures are a bit more complex and less intuitive than we've seen on other tablet operating systems, but more savvy users will appreciate that. That said, Windows is still primarily a desktop operating system, and once you get to that level the cracks in the foundation start to show." Tim Stevens, Engadget
"They've nailed the operating system, given that they didn't have much choice if they wanted to compete in the tablet space. Too much of Windows 8's fate resides on partnerships, though. It depends on hardware, affordability, how closely the pitch to consumers matches the reality of adoption, and, frankly, what Apple does. Ultimately, Microsoft has control over only one of those, and it's only partial at that." Seth Rosenblatt, CNET
"In the end, Windows 8 is a massive change and an obvious next step. The OS leaves competitors in the relative dust, at least in terms of usability, and paves the way for a world of touchscreens and Kinect-like interaction." John Biggs, TechCrunch
"In the end, Microsoft isn’t just asking you to get used to a different interface for Windows. It’s asking you to get used to multiple interfaces within the same OS. I’m not sure how many people have the patience for that. Still, Windows 8 can only get more stable and easier to use while it slowly advances toward a general release, and Metro is gorgeous enough to keep me looking forward to Windows 8′s final act." Peter Pachal, Mashable
"The concept is fantastic and I very much like Microsoft’s execution thus far, but it still feels like a marriage of two completely different operating systems rather than a fusion of two experiences." Zach Epstein, BGR
"By the time the final version ships later this year, it's clear that Windows 8 is going to be a remarkable, daring update to the venerable OS. It is a departure from nearly everything we've known Windows to be. You will love it, or hate it. I love it." Mat Honan, Gizmodo
"Microsoft is not going away." New York Times' Bits Blog
Have you tried it? Let us know what you think of Windows 8 in the comment section below!