The next version of Microsoft's Windows operating system will include an app store and offer a consistent experience across desktops, tablets and smartphones.
Windows 8 is being developed in two flavors: one for desktop computers and one for tablets and phones, with consistencies across both versions. This brings Windows closer to the model that Apple has adopted with its Mac OS X operating system, the desktop version of which has slowly been adopting similarities with the experience iOS offers on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Think Windows 7 meets Windows Phone 7.
The previously-rumored presence of an app store was confirmed in a post by Microsoft's Windows Division President Steven Sinofsky on the company's new Building Windows 8 blog in which he lists the teams working on Windows 8. The list includes mostly familiar, expected names like "Graphics Platform," "Performance" and "Windows Update", but also a few new ones like "App Store" and something called "Human Interaction Platform."
This isn't the first app store Microsoft has made available, but if they are in fact going with the name "App Store" it will be the first time it's called that, Apple's trademark wishes be damned.
The first glimpses the world has seen of Windows 8 have shown hints of a Windows Phone 7 influence, complete with tiled widgets and other mobile-inspired UI elements.
Windows 8 is expected to be available next year.