Windows 8 and New Apps Launched At Microsoft Event in New York

Image credit: Joanna Stern / ABC News

After 1.2 billion hours of testing, Windows 8 is ready. Or at least that's what Microsoft came to New York City today to tell the media.

At an event on Pier 57, the company detailed its new operating system, which is meant for all sorts of computers, including tablets, laptops and desktops.

"This is the best release of Windows ever," Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said on stage.

Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows, detailed the new operating system and the momentum around it at the event. There will be more than 1,000 Windows 8 computers at launch, including tablets, ultrabooks, laptops and desktops. Starting tomorrow, Windows 8 will be available for download and pre-loaded on new computers and tablets.

Windows 8 is the biggest change to Windows since Windows 95, Sinofsky said on stage. While there is still the traditional desktop, it is really just an app on the new Start Screen. The new Start Screen is full of colorful tiles or apps, which you can buy in the new Windows Store. While much of the software is designed for touch, you can still use a mouse and keyboard with it. Office 2013 is also available for the operating system and has a new touch mode.

"You're not going to find that phenomenal productivity experience on any other tablet," Ballmer said when discussing the new Office.

Microsoft has received criticism in early reviews, including ours, of its own Surface RT tablet, about the lack of apps available in its store. "We see today as a grand opening and a very solid one. Developers are adding hundreds of new apps everyday," Sinofsky said.

Today already a number of new apps have been added, including ABC News' own app. Additionally there are new apps from The New York Times, Barnes & Noble, Amazon Instant Video, ABC television and Nickelodeon.

Check out our behind the scenes look at Windows 8.