The recently launched Windows 8 – dubbed the Metro – is literally bristling with new features: over 300 of them at last count. And going by the current trend, it’s highly likely that more new features will be added to the latest offering from the Microsoft stable. It would not be possible to list all the new features unless you were writing a book on the operating system, but this list of the top 10 new features of Windows 8 takes the pick of the lot and describes their functionality. Although this is not a ranking, it’s fairly indicative of the direction in which the new OS is heading: a feisty challenger to both iOS and Android. Here goes. 

One OS for All Devices

So far, all versions of Windows operating systems were different for PCs, laptops and touch screen devices. However, with Windows 8, Microsoft has created a device independent system that runs on both ARM-based tablets and traditional x86 PCs that operate Intel- or AMD-made ARM processors. Microsoft claims that the new OS will function seamlessly on almost all modern devices, with an “always on, always connected“ feature that enables tablets to function like smartphones, allowing them to stay connected to the internet in “sleep” mode when not in use, and to become instantly connected when triggered. However, Windows 8 app developers are yet to bring out any worthwhile apps for the new OS. This might put off some Windows aficionados, but although brand loyalists will fret and fume, they’ll dig only Windows. Old habits die hard.

Backward Compatibility with Windows 7

The new “Tile” approach for the Windows Phone UI looks highly sleek and impressive, and is functionally very usable, but underneath it’s only a slightly souped up version of our old Windows 7 with a new UI layer on top. This UI allows you to view information from various apps without having to actually open the apps: nothing cutting edge there. This way, you can get to see the latest mail on your screen without actually opening your inbox! What’s more interesting is that this feature is backwardly compatible, allowing users to access Windows 7 apps by simply changing interfaces.