This is Windows 8

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Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky just dropped a bombshell at All Things Digital’s D9 conference, announcing the next version of Windows at Microsoft’s conference. The next evolution of Windows, codenamed Windows 8, will feature a touch-friendly Metro UI, similar to the UI seen in Windows Phone 7 as well as a classic desktop interface.

The new OS has been designed from the ground up with touch in mind, unlike Windows 7. But don’t worry, the new OS will also be compatible with a mouse and keyboard.

Windows 8 will feature two different kinds of applications: applications made for classic Windows (e.g. XP, Vista, 7) and those based on HTML5 and Javascript which work in the Metro UI.

The OS will of course support multitasking and Windows 7 “snap”, meaning you could have a classic Windows app alongside a Windows 8 specific app on the same screen.

Also announced at the conference was an Application Marketplace which is built into the Metro UI of Windows 8 and also Internet Explorer 10 which is also touch friendly.

The new OS is compatible with laptops, tablets (with ARM support) and desktops and it’s release date has not yet been announced, although I doubt it will come in 2011.

More information will be given about the new OS at the Build Windows developer conference in September.

This is a big step for Microsoft. Unlike Windows 7 was for Vista, this update brings massive changes and could change tablet and desktop computing. Here’s hoping they can pull it off. Or else this could be Vista 2.0.