Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) officially introduced the new Windows 8  and Surface tablet in an event in New York City, today. The company also launched the Windows Store, which provides apps for the Windows 8 operating system and links to existing desktop apps. The Windows store is available in 231 markets.

windows 8 metro

During the event; Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, told the audience that Windows 8 operating system went through extensive testing. According to him, the new interface was tested in public for more than 1.2 billion hours, in 190 countries. Sinofsky said, “No product anywhere receives this kind of testing, anywhere in the world.”

Sinofsky also emphasized that the new operating system still supports numerous machines powered by ARM processors.

The software giant made significant innovations in the Windows 8 interface. The company changed the traditional start menu button with the new start screen called Metro, which comes in modern and bright colored UI tiles for touch input, keyboard and mouse.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) said, “We have talked about Windows 8 as Windows re-imagined, from the chipset to the user experience. This also applies to the editions available – we have worked to make it easier for customers to know what edition will work best for them when they purchase a new Windows 8 PC, or upgrade their existing PC.”

The new operating system is available to consumers in four options, including Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows RT, and Windows 8 Enterprise.

According to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8, and Windows Pro are generally installed on PCs and tablets equipped with x86 processors. The Windows Pro features include encryption, virtualization, pc management, and domain connectivity. It’s designed for consumers who are engaged in the technology business. The Windows 8 Enterprise is obviously for businesses interested in having extra features, such as advanced security.

The Windows RT is designed for tablets, and it comes with the touch-optimized desktop versions of the Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote programs. It is pre-installed in PCs and tablets equipped with ARM processors.

According to the company, there are more than 1,000 certified Windows 8 PCs. Consumers will now be able to buy the new operating system for their PCs, and begin purchasing new devices powered by Windows 8, including tablets and convertibles.

The Microsoft Surface tablet will be available at the Microsoft Store tomorrow.

Consumers using Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Windows Vista, and XP, will be able to upgrade their operating system to Windows 8, or Windows 8 Pro.

Last month, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) founder, Bill Gates, expressed his excitement over Windows 8. According to him, Microsoft developed the new operating system for touch-screen PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other devices. He said, ”Hardware partners are doing great things to take advantage of the features. It’ll be a big deal, a very exciting product.”