Microsoft has finally gone official with its confirmation of Windows 8 - a week or so after CEO Steve Ballmer jumped the gun by talking about it over in Japan at the company's developers forum.

The next revolution in Microsoft PCing was announced by Windows president Steven Sinofsky, who was speaking at the D9 conference in California. Sinofsky was joined at the conference by corporate VP of Windows program management, Julie Larson-Green, who gave the world its first official look at the platform - which is labelled Windows 8 purely as a codename.

And the big news is that it's not just another Windows 95 update - it's the first major overhaul of the OS in over 15 years.

But although it looks nothing like Windows 95, 98 XP, Vista or 7 don't expect to be totally surprised by its appearance - especially if you've picked up a Windows Phone 7 device in the last few months. Yep, that's right - it's a tile based system that borrows heavily from Microsoft's mobile platform.

Designed to work as one version for all devices - whether that be tablet, notebook, desktop or hybrid - Windows 8 should also be able to run with nay bother on all Windows 7 designed machines (they showed it off on an Asus EeePad and a Lenovo x220T tablet), and it supports multiple input methods too.

"Although the new user interface is designed and optimized for touch, it works equally well with a mouse and keyboard," said Larson-Green.

"Our approach means no compromises - you get to use whatever kind of device you prefer, with peripherals you choose, to run the apps you love. This is sure to inspire a new generation of hardware and software development, improving the experience for PC users around the world."

Don't expect to see Windows 8 landing this year though. A 2012 release is touted (whaddya know, Ballmer knew his stuff) although we should have a much clearer picture by the time Microsoft’s build developer conference comes around in September.