On the Windows computer of the future, live tiles will replace icons, touch-based gestures will replace mouse clicks and semantic zooming will replace the arduous traversal through nested menus and folders.

In a demonstration Monday for journalists and analysts, Microsoft showed off a beta of its next generation Windows OS, Windows 8. The event was held the day before Microsoft's Build Professional Developers Conference opens in Anaheim, California.

Although Microsoft has revealed many of Windows 8's features in blog posts and earlier demonstrations, Monday's presentation showed how these elements would work together as a whole.

Windows 8 is a "bold re-imagination" of Windows, said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division. The Windows 8 user experience will be fundamentally different than it was for earlier iterations. Users will no longer be asked to see the screen as a desktop. Nor will they find menus running across the top of boxy applications.

This change comes thanks to a new user interface, called Metro, which borrows heavily from the interface Microsoft created for Windows Phone 7, in which applications are accessed by touching tiles.

Full story: Computerworld