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The rumors about Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 8, have been swirling ever since the company released a preview back in June 2011.

With a focus on touchscreen technology, the new operating system is a dramatic shift from updates we've seen in the past. Laptops with Windows will be virtually unrecognizable, so the transition may be a bit traumatic at first. However, PC stalwarts can take comfort in the fact that the backbone of Microsoft's operating system - Microsoft Office - will still exist in a fairly (and endearingly) familiar form.

The company touts its newest upgrade as a "new Windows for a new device" that applies the "speed and reliability" of Windows 7 to touchscreen devices. Their consumer preview provides guided tours and in-depth tutorials to prepare lifelong Windows users for the change.

Comparisons to the Mac interface will no doubt abound. Microsoft has developed its own version of the Apple store: Windows 8 comes with a Windows store, which is loaded with apps to download onto your device.

And, with an interface that can remain essentially identical from one device to another, Windows 8 has great potential to expand Microsoft's presence in the mobile world. PCWorld reports that Ralph De la Vega, chief of AT&T mobility, expressed great enthusiasm for the new operating system.

In a speech at the J.P Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, De la Vega remarked that he believed it would be "the first time that you can truly have a similar experience on your PC, on your tablet, on your smartphone from Microsoft." With Windows 8, customers can have a consistent experience whether they're using a Sony Vaio or HP TouchPad.

If you're looking for a new device (or two) that will make full use of all the exciting new features of Windows 8, consult a specialist at PortableOne.

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