Microsoft has shown off the next generation of its Windows operating system. Windows 8 is designed to run on tablet computers, as well as desktop and laptop PCs.
The software, due to be released in 2012 will work on the popular ARM-designed low power processors for the first time.
Microsoft has been under pressure to come up with an answer to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms.
Windows 8 was unveiled at the Build developers’ conference in California.
The system will function through one or two interfaces; a traditional desktop, similar to that seen in previous edition of Windows, and a tablet version known as Metro.
Metro features large, chunky controls of the sort that best suit touchscreen use. The current lack of such an input method is widely seen as the reason why few Windows 7 tablets exist.
Microsoft said that it would also be launching its own online marketplace- the Windows Store – to sell downloadable applications.