I think the true pitch of Microsoft is all about connecting the dots – Read a stable cloud platform, a plethora of PaaS offerings, A truly modern and fresh operating system that works seamlessly across multiple form factors, proper interfacing with existing devices like XBox – and all this working together.
If you are reading this before the Windows 8 launch event – You can watch it live here today (25th October 2012).
Windows 8 versions include
- Windows 8 (Normal, Pro and Enterprise versions) that runs on Intel and AMD processors
- This will be available with most of the PCs, Desktops and hybrids. This can run legacy Windows applications as well along with Metro applications. Has got both Metro and Desktop interfaces.
- Windows RT that runs on ARM chipsets
- This version is mainly for tablets, a stripped down version of Windows that can’t run legacy applications. Though this also has a desktop mode, the desktop mode will only support touch optimized Office 2013 apps.
As of now, Microsoft’s own Surface device is available with Windows RT, and a version with full Windows 8 will be available soon.
It is all about Connecting the dots
Make no mistake, today’s Windows 8 release is something that I’m truly excited about. But I’m more excited about the way Microsoft played all these strings together to create a symphony with all their different technologies, to create a connected and co-syncing user experience across devices and platforms - and I think they got it right this time. Along with this, add all the back end and front end platforms (and integrating points) they have for developers to create truly magnificent applications for both enterprise and consumer markets.
This enables a lot of possibilities. Like using my Windows 8/Win RT tablet or phone as a remote control. Like using your television as a second screen for your Tablet. Like chatting about a movie with your friends when you watch it.
See this Smart Glass Video
This wave of releases from Microsoft will connect all your screens together – PCs, TVs (X Box), Tablets, and Phone (Yea I know, it might take few months for Windows Phone to reach there eventually to provide full Win RT support).
Few key un seen ingredients people miss when they talk about the pitch from Microsoft include
- A properly baked cloud ecosystem with enough PaaS and SaaS offerings in the backend to co-sync user experiences for both enterprise and consumer market (Azure, Office 365, Sky drive etc)
- Proper interfacing of Windows 8 with devices like X Box to provide seamless user experience (Smart Glass)
- Easy integration and up gradation for enterprise customers
A number of devices to choose from
It was a good move from Microsoft to raise the bar with it’s own Surface tablet. Windows 8 enables lot of hardware manufacturers to experiment with new generation hybrid devices, and I believe this new set of Windows 8 PC/Tablet/Laptop convertibles are awesome, and provides a lot of options when you want to pick your Windows 8 or Win RT device. You are not just locked in to Microsoft’s own Surface tablet (Though I may buy one) and it’s form factor.
You have a lot of form factors to choose from, based on what you need. For example, see this 20 inch marvel from Sony.
The productivity factor
I always struggled with my iPad to do serious stuff – When I want to create good presentations, edit documents, and check and reply to my mails. Windows 8/Win RT along with Microsoft Outlook and Office Suite should take my worries away.
The app ecosystem as of now is not as large as what iOS is having – for good and bad. As a developer, I think it is good because my applications will get noticed soon in the Windows market place. As an end user, may be having lot of apps is a good thing – though I’m more interested in quality rather than quantity anyway.
The enterprise features finally will enable a controlled BYOD strategy for enterprises to bank on – so far they were ducking away from the Android and iPad tablets due to the lack of seamless integration with existing IT infrastructure. So I can see my enterprise customers caching in on Windows 8 devices for productivity boost.