SINGAPORE - The new Windows 8 operating system was officially launched here on Thursday as Microsoft aims to revive interest in the once dominant personal computers, which have been losing ground to tablet devices and smartphones.
The regional launch was held hours before Windows 8 was unveiled in New York, along with its first tablet device called Surface.
Microsoft Asia Pacific president Tracey Fellows described the Windows 8 as "a no compromise computing experience." While it is especially designed for touch-sensitive tablets, Windows 8 can also be used in traditional PCs, notebooks, ultra books, all-in-ones and convertibles, with over 1,000 certified devices that can run the new OS.
Some of the new devices that can run Windows 8 include those manufactured by Asus, Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba.
"What Windows 8 does is let you find a way to merge these devices, let you have that flexibility," she told reporters from different parts of the region.
"The experience from business to consumer, it's quite seamless," she added.
Windows 8 incorporates the familiar PC desktop with tiles that contain applications and tasks and change and update in real time.
Fellows sees promise in Windows 8 as it is Microsoft's most tested OS so far at 16 million downloads, surpassing the 10-million mark reached by Windows 7, which is the company's best-selling software yet.
"It is by far the most tested and used operating system," she said.
Windows 8 is available for download at $39.99 for those who are currently running PCs with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. Those who have purchased Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 can download the new OS for $14.99 through an "upgrade offer."
Windows Store, Surface
Along with the launch of Windows 8 in New York are the unveiling of Surface and the Windows Store, an online store for applications for the new OS, similar to Apple's App Store.
Some apps from the Philippines which are available on the newly opened Windows Store include ABS-CBNnews.com's news content service and SM Cinema.
"[At the Windows Store] you'll see a range of applications across the region, from across the world," Fellows said.
While it has already been made available in North America, Surface has yet to reach the Asia Pacific region, said Fellows, who noted that only Australia currently has a scheduled release date for the tablet device.
"We have no further announcements to make on the other countries [in the region]," she explained, adding that a Microsoft retail store in the Asia Pacific seems unlikely for now.