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Windows 8: Would you like the PC version? Or one of four mobile versions?

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(Read caption) Windows 8 will likely ship in a variety of iterations, Microsoft has announced. Here, a user signs onto a Windows-based Hotmail account.

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Windows 8, the presumably forthcoming Microsoft operating system, will ship in a variety of versions – some for traditional desktop computers and laptops, and some for tablets and other mobile devices. That's the news this week from Intel, which announced at a California event that Microsoft is producing four iterations of Windows alone for ARM-based devices (mostly mobile devices).

As Mark Raby notes over at TG Daily, that may be pretty smart thinking on Microsoft's part. "Apple's iOS and Google's Android platform have both been used to create successful tablet devices, but Microsoft has largely been left out of the game," Raby writes.

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And you certainly don't want to be left out of the tablet game: Nielsen recently released a report showing that tablets are increasingly popular among many American consumers – and are replacing time spent on normal computers.

Last we heard on the Windows 8 front, Microsoft was batting around the idea of dropping the traditional Windows drop-down menu in favor of the Ribbon, a functionality which displays information via an array of tabs. (Confused? Think horizontal.) That rumor came courtesy of Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott of Within Windows, who posted a bunch of screenshots that allegedly show the new Windows 8 interface.

"If Microsoft goes through with this change, the Ribbon will replace the menu and toolbar in today’s Explorer windows, and as in Office, it will make many more features visibly discoverable, albeit at the expense of onscreen real estate and, we think, attractiveness," Rivera and Thurrott wrote. Makes sense. Thoughts on what should be included in the Windows 8 interface? Drop us a line in the comments section.

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