Matt Farrington-Smith
10/01/2012 16:17 | By Matt Farrington-Smith, editor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

CES 2012: Microsoft "focused" on Windows 8

CES 2012: Steve Ballmer reveals that Microsoft will focus heavily on the next version of its popular operating system - Windows 8.

Here are the Windows 8-flavoured highlights from Microsoft's last keynote at 2012's Consumer Electronics Show.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Ryan Seacrest listen during a demonstration. Image AP (© AP Photo, Julie Jacobson)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Ryan Seacrest listen during a Windows 8 demonstration.

Windows 8 beta

A Developer preview of Windows 8 has been available since Microsoft previewed the new operating system to developers at their BUILD conference in September 2011.

Steve Ballmer confirmed that a beta version of Windows 8 (containing further new features) will be made publically available at the end of February 2012.

Ballmer reminded the crowd: "With Windows 8, we re-imagined Windows, all the way from the chipset to the user experience, to be the best of the PC and the best of the tablet."

"Windows 8 Ready" devices were spotted onstage and around the exhibition itself. Windows 8 is said to run brilliantly on x86 chips, that's both AMD and Intel. Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer - Tami Reller, demonstrated a Samsung tablet running a NVIDIA Tegra 3 chipset. Other chip manufacturers will include Qualcomm and TI.

If you're feeling especially adventurous, you can download the Developer preview of Windows 8 and see how the new touch interface works for yourself.

Pictures: Latest Windows 8 screenshots

The Windows Store as found in Windows 8. Image MSN

A preview of the Windows Store, Windows 8's very own "app store".

Windows Store to open in late Feb

The timing of the Windows 8 beta ties in with the Windows Store - an app store of sorts that sits within Windows 8.

We are told: "Windows Store will initially open in late February... let you test the range of free apps." The Store will be global and available in every language authored for Windows (we round that up to about 200 countries). Businesses will also be able to use it to deliver apps and updates for employees.

You'll be able to download both free and paid apps (with the option of downloading a trial) much like you would on a modern smartphone.

Read our preview on the Windows Store

More on MSN: Microsoft at CES 2012
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