Microsoft is holding an New York City event to debut Windows 8 and we’re on-site ready for the show. The new operating system, along with a version called Windows RT for tablets, is a bold strategy for Microsoft as Google, Apple and others are gaining mindshare if not market share. My hope is that Microsoft offers a message today that provides compelling reasons to consider — or for some, reconsider — Windows as a platform and ecosystem. Stay tuned as the live blog is updated once the event begins!
And with that, Steve is gone and so is the presentation. Now it’s time for a Surface RT reception for some hands on time. I’ll have a Surface tablet review unit in a bit and will follow up with a first look video. Thanks for following along!
Much of the message here is that this is “Windows reimagined”. There’s little direct comparison to Apple’s iPad or other tablets except where certain touch activities are involved. This is definitely a new device class that may not be a direct comparison to anything other than your old PC.
Ballmer notes that 400m new PCs are expected to sell next year, showing the huge opportunity Microsoft has with Windows 8.
Ballmer now talking about Windows Phone, the similarities and synchronization features that extend Windows 8. If folks like the Windows 8 user interface, I could see some try Windows Phone, provided the apps people want are available.
Think AirPlay plus IMDB on a PC.
With Microsoft SmartGlass you can control media on your Xbox and get additional information, such as actor biographies and such.
“Skype on Windows 8: It’s fast, beautiful and designed to be always on,” according to Ballmer.
“Internet Explorer is perfect for touch,” says Ballmer. I’ll be checking that claim given how much browsing I do on phones and tablets.
Ballmer: “Microsoft is all in to make the Windows 8 vision a reality: Office, Bing, IE, MSN, SkyDrive, Skype, Xbox Music, Video and Games.”
Ballmer says, “With Windows 8, we’ve brought together the best of both worlds. The PC and the tablet. Your work life and your home life.”
Ballmer notes that while desktop and laptop users will see benefit, there’s a new paradigm that Windows 8 is ready for: touch.
“The experience is magical: sign in and it lights up with your life.” More pushing of the sync and services, which is key. The market is no longer about just hardware or software, but the entire experience.
Ballmer notes that these machines are all “Alive with activity: Personal, Live tiles, your Microsoft account”.
He reminds us that tonight at 12:01 am (that’s really tomorrow, Steve) you can buy Windows 8 devices.
And it’s…. Steve Ballmer on stage!
A round of applause for the Microsoft Surface RT device.
Here comes a closer look at the Windows RT devices. Lenovo Yoga, Dell XPS 10, and Samsung ATIV. More plugging of the “works with 420m hardware peripherals.”
Folks that have used Windows Phone will be right at home here in Windows 8; same user interface and app look, which is a good thing.
Julie is highlighting some of the nicer looking apps: UrbanSpoon and Bing Travel. Easy to pin an app to the Start screen. Now she’s showing us her Jetpack Joyride skills. Go Julie!
The new Snap feature is pretty slick: One window to watch a video while live notifications update in a smaller second, interactive window.
Number of Windows Store apps have doubled in the past few weeks, says Mike. Still no mention of how many apps.
Julie is now talking about Windows 8 scalability: from small tablets to a large Dell all-in-one desktop; the same touch experience is consistent throughout.
Windows 8 reconnects to Wi-Fi in about 1 second on average after waking; for Windows 7 it was 15 seconds. Smart metric to highlight.
Mike now showing digital inking on an Lenovo tablet. Handy for those that need it (said the former Microsoft Tablet PC user)
More than 1,000 systems now certified for Windows 8, so plenty of PC choices.
SkyDrive can sync files between PCs, tablets, Windows Phone and Xbox. Mike says. Again: all about the ecosystem.
Talking up the Save to SkyDrive service now, which looks very nicely integrated.
Moving the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen shows all the running apps for multi-tasking: Reminds me of the Android 4.0 method – a bunch of stacked images showing the apps.
Mike is getting applause: “This Windows 7 PC upgraded to Windows 8 boots 30 percent faster!”
30 million tracks available in Xbox Music.
Wow, they’re flying through the services: Xbox Music and then Xbox Live. Blink and you miss it!
Demonstrating 10 point multi-touch, which could bring some interesting new apps.
Julie is showing the ease of switching through Live Tiles on the Start screen while Mike is being a little devil: he’s going to change Juiie’s lock-screen background.
Now on stage: Mike Anguilo and Julie Larson-Green to show off some hardware, starting with Windows 7 upgrades.
The message I’m hearing: RT offers the benefits of Microsoft’s Windows ecosystem from a hardware and services standpoint. From an app perspective, not so much.
Windows RT works with 420,000,000 devices, Sinofsky says. He’s alluding to various Windows peripherals here.
Now let’s talk Windows RT. It includes Office 2013. He’s noting that it won’t run traditional Windows apps; how will this message get to consumers, I wonder?
Sinofsky is alluding to the potential lack of apps. “We know folks will hit the store to see if their favorite app is there.” But he says developer interest is huge and at the store’s opening will have more apps than any other app store when it opened. (How many, Steven? How many?!?)
New Windows Store for apps will be available in 231 markets.
New Ultrabooks with touch displays are getting a little attention now.
Every Windows 8 PC comes with an onscreen “how-to” to help people adjust to the new interface, says Sinofsky. I’ll be taking a look at that later today because some are concerned abut the learning curve.
Sinofsky is playing up the touch-ability of Windows 8, giving rise to new device form factors and traditional notebooks with touch displays.
Wow: Windows 8 was tested in public for over 1.24 billion hours!
Windows 8 upgrades will help performance: faster cold boot times and a reduction in memory use by up to 21 percent.
Windows is redesigned from the chipset to the experience, says Sinofsky.
Services are important too: SkyDrive now has 200 million users. (Yup, it’s about the ecosystem.)
Steven Sinofsky is on stage to start us up. 1 billion people using Windows now; Windows 8 is for the next billion users.