There is a lot in the name as it is identity of something. It is the way we know and talk about that something. With Windows 8 Microsoft seems to be on a name breaking spree. Earlier they rebranded Surface as the new Windows 8 Tablet and renaming the earlier MS Surface as PixelSense. Now it is the Metro UI being renamed as Windows 8 UI.
We are used to code names for products and then switching to their final names so this will also settle down. But while in transit, conversations are becoming longer as I have to talk something like this - "We can do so and so on PixelSense, earlier known as MS Surface" OR "MS introduced the new user experience paradigm called Windows 8 UI, earlier known as Metro UI"
Microsoft has annouced about general availability of Windows 8 on 26 Oct 2012. I have been playing around with dev preview, then consumer preview and now release preview and look forward to the final release. I do intend to update my home PC with Windows 8.
While there is no specific annoucement on Phone 8 or the update for existing consumers to Phone 7.8, I would guess that Phone 8 should release around the same time as Windows 8. The upgrade from 7.5 to 7.8 will probably happen after that, in an attempt to push some of the existing consumers to Phone 8.
[Edited 20 July] Updates on dates of Phone 8, Office 2013 etc
Microsoft unveiled the Windows 8 Surface Tablet yesterday. One interesting feature along with it being on Windows 8 is the built in paper thin keyboard on the cover. However since it is so thin, it seems to have the same problem like the screen/virtual keyboards and i.e. of no tactile feedback. Probably they should look to integerate with this.
Some weeks back we had read about side loading of enterprise applications and that the app store was mainly for uploading and sharing metro apps. There is an update to that now whereby we can list desktop apps on app store as well. Do note there is only listing support. Desktop apps will not be deployed via app store.
An Individual user can probably use this and then get to the desktop app's main website to download and install it. An enterprise user will mostly still rely on side loading as it is unlikely that enterprises will allow direct access to app store to install either Metro apps or search desktop apps.
Microsoft Surface is getting a big facelift with the commercial launch of the 2.0 version developed in collaboration with Samsung. Here is a quick listing of what's new. We at Infosys having worked with customers in the past on the earlier Surface platform are all excited about this. Especially the thinner design that supports vertically mounting and the lower cost of this new version expands the scope of potential business applications. One particular domain that is showing much promise is retail banking.
Microsoft Surface can help generate customer interest in financial products, increase sales and reduce processing cycle time. We are exploring Surface being used at retail banking branches both as a self-service kiosk as well as a discussion tool for customers with banking sales representatives. The bank can issue credit or debit cards featuring identity tags using which customers can identify themselves by placing these on the Surface table. Alternatively identification can be achieved by placing their cell-phones, which might need a preinstalled application that communicates with Surface via Bluetooth. Similarly banking sales representatives can have identity cards with these tags to identify themselves and manage information using Surface.
It is hardly two years since Microsoft had showcased Windows Phone 7. The SDK came out in September 2010. In Asia the availability of Phone 7 has just completed an year and we have already had a version upgrade to Mango (7.5).
On desktop/tablet side, Windows 8 developer preview was first made widely available in Build Conference in September 2011. The beta is expected anytime soon and then later this year the final release of this product.
Microsoft annouced the other day availability of Kinect for Windows SDK. This version can be used to build commercial application, something which wasn't possible with the earlier SDK. Alongside a new hardware device is also available now (priced higher than the earlier one).
While this SDK will work earlier device as well you would not be able to leverage the new near mode support which allows you to detect objects mearly 40 cms from the device unless you use the new device as well. Additionally if you are migrating your earlier code to the new SDK, you may want to use the Microsoft.Kinect.Migration assembly to aid the migration effort.
In Immersive Technologies Track we are working on some exciting technologies related to data visualization, touch, gesture and augmented reality. The main products on our radar are Phone 7, Surface and Kinect. We recently published a technology roundtable newletter sharing some insights of our work. You can get to the newsletter from here.
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