While Windows 8 is still more than a year away from seeing public release, a new build of the OS, 7989, has leaked and boasts a number of interesting features.
Redmond Pie reports that Windows enthusiasts who've found the new build on file-sharing sites have dug into the code and found — among other things — a new virtual keyboard, per-feature licensing, and SMS and geo-location support. The new features also support Microsoft's plan to implement Windows 8 on future tablet devices instead of Windows Phone.
First up, the virtual keyboard has been revamped. The new design is less cramped, has larger keys, and is a far more streamlined approach — one tablets and touch-screen PCs could use comfortably.
Next, per-feature licensing opens the doors for a stock, bare bones build of the OS, with features added on individually as needed. "Microsoft’s server operating systems have allowed this for years, although all 'upgrades' are free of charge. This proven feature has allowed IT managers to easily customize their servers installations to their needs anytime they see fit," Redmond Pie writes. "Bringing this down to the client level would certainly benefit power users."
Finally, Microsoft also appears to be implementing APIs that detect a machine's location (as featured on Mac OS X Snow Leopard), which is used to update time zone, etc. Also included is SMS support — another indication of Windows 8's mobile leanings.
That's it for now, but it's certainly not all. Microsoft will likely unveil a lot more at the annual Professional Developers Conference in September. Will Windows 8 live up to the title of Microsoft's "riskiest product"?