Windows 8 Beta Release and Features Speculation

CES is finally here, and with it hopefully tons of new information about Windows 8, new slates, new Intel technologies, and other new goodies that will effect computing and technology going into 2012 and beyond.

At Windows8update we are very excited for this event, although we do know that we still will have to wait patiently for about another month to actually get our hands on the Beta of Windows 8.

Meanwhile, it seems that with Windows 8 Beta drawing near a allegedly ‘leaked’ Windows 8 roadmap has made its way into the hands of the public.

According to Winunleaked.tk, from now until January 23rd Windows 8 will be considered to be in pre-beta form at Microsoft. After January 23rd, Windows 8 will go into what is known as “Beta Escrow”.

From there, rumors suggest that Microsoft testers will vote on which of the Windows 8 builds will in fact be the final beta build with the decision being made on January 28.

This will result in an internal Microsoft preview showing off the Beta on January 30th. The target for the final beta build will be 8200.winmain_win8b1.

For now though, Microsoft has remained quite on this supposed leak and seems to wish to maintain a level of secrecy about its timeline of the beta. Still if it’s true, it seems to point towards a February release, which is already what we are expecting.

With Windows 8 Beta just around the corner, I’m curious what the final version will actually look like.

I honestly enjoyed Windows 8 Developer Preview for the most part, but I found that the lack of a marketplace really made it hard to truly judge where Microsoft was heading with its new OS.

So what do I want to see in the Beta that can convince me that Windows 8 is truly ready for ‘prime time’? Obviously, a capable marketplace is a good starting point.

I understand we are just getting a Beta, so I don’t expect thousands of apps (even 50-100 would be enough to get a good taste), but what is more important is how easy the market is to navigate for the average consumer.

Additionally, I want to see a much, much improved Metro interface this time around. I liked Metro for the most part, but I felt it didn’t offer anything worthy for non-touch users.

Microsoft’s key to seeing Metro accepted is to offer something different with Metro that users can’t easily get elsewhere, such as on the desktop.

Part of this will boil down to the apps. Windows Metro UI will provide a (hopefully) safer and more locked-down experience that will make it a better choice for children and those who are somewhat computer illiterate.

Still, if the apps aren’t worth a darn, that none of Metro’s charm will really matter. Again, I really won’t truly be able to gauge the app situation fully until the final release, I suspect.

Another welcome feature, though I’m not certain if Microsoft has even thought about it, is a password or swipe lock on the Metro interface that prevents users from getting into the desktop with authorization.

This would be perfect for those of us with small children that we let use our computers and tablets.

If they have limited access to Windows through Metro they can play their games and activities without us having to worry about them getting into the ‘main’ part of Windows and messing with our business side of things.

Additionally a ‘child mode’ that we can easily enter that locks down any specified app from being open while activated (such as Metro’s control panel, desktop, business apps for Metro, etc) would be a great feature.

I have a two year old daughter that loves the computer, but I always have to watch her carefully on my laptop. I have important business files and programs that I need to make sure she doesn’t accidentally mess with, for example.

If Microsoft wants to make Windows 8 something different and essential for families, having special lock-down functions in Metro would be a great place to start.

Are there any unusual features that haven’t been talked about that you hope make it into the Beta or at least the final version? Share your thoughts below.

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  • Handa

    I think Metro could be a dream – even on a desktop. You could scroll sideways simply by touching the sides of you screen with the cursor, and the closer you get to the edge, the faster it will scrool. That is a simple way to fix the problem ;)