The web is alive today with rumors — and some screenshots to boot — of Microsoft’s plans for a built-in PDF viewer for Windows 8. The PDF viewer will be called Modern Reader and will utilize the new AppX application package type.
If the screenshots available on the within windows site are any indication, then Modern Reader will be a very minimalistic PDF viewer, permitting you to display PDFs with full fidelity, zoom in and out, and to navigate through pages. No other features are known at the moment.
Microsoft’s plans for AppX are not clearly known yet; however, it appears to be primarily concerned with the deployment aspects of applications. From what we can see, it looks very similar to the Windows Phone 7 application packages, indicating that it might be possible to build applications that are cross-device compatible in the future.
Windows 8 is not expected to be released until 2012 or later, although based on previous Microsoft releases, we will see public betas and release candidates before the final release.
Due to its name (i.e., it doesn’t include ‘PDF’), it is likely that Modern Reader will support multiple formats, not just PDF, and in this regard will most likely be similar to the Preview application on Mac OSX.
Stay tuned for more news on this topic as it comes to hand.