updated 05:00 pm EDT, Mon May 23, 2011
Microsoft Windows head may show Win 8 at D9
A rumor on Monday suggested that Microsoft might show Windows 8's tablet interface at the D9 conference next week. Windows group leader Steven Sinofsky, who was just today confirmed to be an interview guest at the show, is now rumored to be giving the Immersive UI its first public display. The demo according to WinRumors would be a "technology preview" and not necessarily a finished representation of what would ship.
None of the publicly leaked milestone builds of Windows 8 have so far shown the interface itself, although small clues have emerged that the code was in place. Microsoft is suspected of having kept the interface secret with "red pill" code that prevents the real interface from showing to all but those cleared to see it at Microsoft. Some clues have emerged in leaked Office 15 builds.
The OS is poised to be Microsoft's first truly tablet-optimized OS and should use a much more elaborate variant of the tile-based Metro scheme from Windows Phone 7. A finished version may not arrive for some time, though, as Microsoft still has to go into beta testing and release candidates. A first beta is rumored for September and might not be met by a finished version until late 2012.
Sinofsky is expected to be under pressure at D9 and answer to a number of questions for the company's Windows strategy, particularly in tablets. Microsoft is considered the pioneer of tablet computers and has been pushing the formal Tablet PC concept since 2002, but it has never advanced the category beyond niche status despite repeated attempts. Apple with the iPad managed to outsell Tablet PC lifetime numbers in nine months, and Android despite its small share has already outgrown Windows.