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back to article Win8 beta to surface in Feb 2012 - Microsoft exec

The Windows 8 beta is coming in February, if a Microsoft exec launching the Windows 8 Store is to be believed. Antoine Leblond, vice-president of Windows web services, gave the date at the end of a preview of the app store in San Francisco, California, this week and after pitching market opportunities available to devs who get …

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Rob
Bronze badge

PC Makers

I think the PC Makers made a hash of it because they could do the hardware ok but probably took longer figuring out the minefield of implementing Android. If Microsoft had Win8 there and then, I think it could have been a slightly different story.

I get the impression from the tablets that appeared shortly after the iPad that they were thrown together to jump on that bandwagon and the logical choice for an OS was Android as they thought it was the easier implementation for lack of something better.

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FAIL

MS would be idiots

If Win8 on Arm cannot do the following:

Native Apps for Office and close relatives (excl Access Dev but maybe including a touch enabled Access Runtime.)

Outlook/Exchange compatability.

Sharepoint client.

Arm as a target for touch enabled Visual Studio codebases (or at least lite client versions of the x86 clients)

Unless Intel has an Arm killer lined up in the next 18 months - which I sincerely doubt then MS would effectively be giving up the Market to Apple and Amazon.

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If other articles elsewhere are correct then the full office suite will be on ARM and x86, along with the latest .Net runtime. Which basically means if you've got .Net apps you're OK (just compile for <all platforms> or for ARM) and you've still got Office, IE, Windows Explorer, apps from Windows Store or whatever it's going to be called.

Dropping native Win32 apps seems to be what they are doing.

And I have no idea what you mean by SharePoint client....! The point is that it's web-based!!!

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Pint

Original Steve...

I mostly agree with you but I am quite sure Microsoft can't afford to let native code die.

MS marketing put strong emphasis on C# and .NET of course, but we all certainly remember that Microsoft have a long tradition in making languages and let them die for something new (hey they sell solutions, so it is to be expected).

A lot of software developement is done in native code for its independant technology, power, and availabillity.

Letting native code die would be like blowing off one and half of Microsoft two legs.

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sensitive politics for MS...

Can't piss off Intel too much

Can't piss off customers too much either

They might figure some 3rd party outfit will take care of native app compatibility pretty soon, and then Intel can't be mad at them.

My only uses for tablets are extremely limited... so if my kid can't run the old PC version of Rosetta Stone on a windows 8 tablet, I just won't be buying one. I won't be buying into a shiny new app store where I'm supposed to pay for everything again and end up with less functionality in the trade. Its going to the freaking McDonalds of software, following right in Apple's tracks.

I'll also hold off on Windows 8, till someone made a utility to get rid of the Metro UI and give a windows 7 interface option, since I'm pretty happy with that.

I don't know where Synofski gets his usage statistics from, but I think they're leading him astray.

Rarely used functions may only be rarely used because of the high percentage of computer users that use one or two applications and otherwise couldn't find a file on their computer if they wanted to.

For all I know, they should stuff Synofski and Elop in the same pinata sack

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JDX
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August 2012

By then we'll presumably have iPad3 and the next-gen Android tablets not around yet. They're going to have to be VERY polished tablets for W8 to take off.

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MS Netbooks

Yep, I'm sure that is how MS snagged that market, and 100% positive it had nothing to do with the netbook makers relying on discounts on MS licenses for their other hardware, nor on MS giving away XP licenses for netbooks.

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FAIL

WTF?

A tablet OS that's 2 and a half years behind the market leader...

Which starts with no apps (this killed WebOS and is doing for Blackberry in the tablet space)...

Which is advertised as "windows", but yet doesn't run familiar windows applications - which will only serve to create disappointed users.

From a company with a history of poor tablet interfaces that were almost universally despised by their users...

You'd be a fool to buy this

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Go

WTF?

Maybe it would make more sense to let it come to life first?

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Terminator

MS will win how it always wins

Apple have nothing to worry about because fabois are already loyal and consumers in general expect iThings to be different, Android is the one in peril here.

By throwing loss-leader money at the problem till the competition drowns; like a terminator, Microsoft is willing to sever it's own arm in pursuit of killing its target.

I fully expect a multi-pronged assault as MS go to war with their usual weapons of choice:

Co-opt BlueStacks into Win 8 so the naive don't feel like they're losing out through lack of available apps; twisting arms of OEMs into accepting small margins to offer lower price tablets; huge marketing push (tablet-parties? No such thing as bad publicity); and bundling a "free" basic-offering tablet with purchases of laptop/desktop bundles.

In my opinion BlueStacks is the real evil as much as MS is - it's not as though BS is offering multi-platform support, only Windows *sigh*. They're essentially doing this old, tired but still monsterous monopoly a big favour.

I don't like it one bit.

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Price

Price will be the major factor in whether Win8 succeeds on tablets. If Win8 tablets are priced in the iPad range, they probably won't sell - if you're going to spend $500-$600, you might as well go for the "safe" option. At $250-$300, they'll have to offer some significant advantages over Android tablets.

Homegroup integration with smooth virtual application presentation from the existing Win7 machines that most people already have, that "just works" at the level of technical knowledge that most users have, but Microsoft would have to do a much better job of communicating that functionality to potential customers than they usually do.

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> Microsoft prevailed because ...

OEMs rely on Windows discounts and advertising partnerships. Without these they would have to pay millions more to MS for the installs of Windows and Office.

Discounts are only given to partners who fully committ to that partnership. While the original netbooks could not run Vista they could be sold by the OEM with Linux without being penalized. MS revived the old XP specifically to give them control of those machines and eliminate Linux.

When the OEMs start making ARM based machines MS could not control them. That is the only reason that Windows 8 on ARM was announced. It doesn't matter whether anyone would buy it as long as MS could threaten discounts at the OEMs to kill off Android.

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Silver badge

One question that I have not seen any answers to is what restrictions will MS put on ARM (or x86) tablets. With WP7 it seems that MS dictated that the SD card be some incompatible format and it be under the battery so that replacing it caused a hard reset which then formatted the new card.

This enforces some sort of security and user inconvenience. Will the tablets also have similar design restrictions.

WP7 devices were also required to have the same numbers of buttons, screen resolutions, and other 'features' which made them virtually identical. Only the Fisher-Price colors make the Nokias different. Will this also apply to the tablets ?

If it does then Windows tablets will forever be a year or more behind the market.

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Anonymous Coward

Richard Plinston

Wp7 doesnt use an incompatible format, it uses a function built in to the SD card spec from year 1, its just never been used, outside of some security measures used on some music hardware.

That is unless you are talking about USB mass storage or played with the original HD2 WP7 ROMs.

The first of which isnt designed to work with WP7 for a reason the second of which was a temp solution to a problem which is now only seen with dual boot WP7 and Android devices.

Also, the original spec for WP7 doesnt hold manufactures to SD card placment, it actually suggests using flash (for another very good reason) its not designed to format the card as such its designed in a similar way to a computer, if i yank out one of your two hard disks setup in a split RAID , your computer isnt going to work.

For the vast majority of users none of this will make the blindest bit of difference, for the rest of us there is Xda developers.

as to the article, i hope you are correct and that its not too locked down, but you have to remember that WM failed largely because OEMs and Networks had too much say in what happened with the device, MS got slatted because Networks filled phones with crap and OEMs couldnt be bothered to pay for the correct drivers, of course the opersite is true of Windows Desktop so its a going to be a tough call....

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Anonymous Coward

I predit a huge sale in early 2013 of unsold window tablets

Way to late to the party, with a platform that offers nothing the other (and much more established) vendors have been selling for some time and it is built on an interface that no one is buying today.

Plus MS will lock the hardware down so all the tablets look the same and have such a long update cycle that within a few months that are way behind the other products.

Except for the Apple haters/MS love children (and I think Apple is willing to concede that .000001% of the market) why would anyone buy this instead of iPad (or Kindel) that EVERYONE else is buying.

Because it runs "Windows" - sorry the 90's are over. Move on.

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Silver badge

While Windows 8 beta may well be out in feb this does not assume that it will include an ARM beta, or even a version that would run on a tablet. It may just be the x86 desktop system.

This may also apply to the first RTM. Desktop now, tablet later, ARM sometime in 2013/2014.

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Thumb Down

Don't be ridiculous...

Windows has been running on ARM for well over 2 years now, so what makes you think it isn't ready for the beta? Also the ARM version runs the desktop as well as x86, including all the typical apps, it's just that the standard UI is not suitable for tablets. ARM servers and laptops are obviously going to support existing x86 apps (after trivial recompilation of course).

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Silver badge

They are foolish

If I were Microsoft I'd get a team of a dozen or so developers to write an x86 emulator for ARM as well as a layer which changes GUIs to be more suitable for Tablets and mobile devices. It is of course not trivial, however should they manage to do it, they would immediately take over the business tablet market.

The big advantage of Windows is that it can run 20 year old software. That's the sole reason businesses buy it.

This is also the reason why I don't like Android very much. Instead of going for a standard Linux system with X11 and apt-get, they went for a system which is essentially incompatible to the rest of the world.

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Silver badge

Actually standartized hardware

Actually standardized could be a big step forwards in tablets. You could just nuke the standard OS installation and go with something usable.

This would mean that you could get software updates independent of hardware updates. You could get proper operating systems. Finally the combination of Hard- and Software would also disappear in those markets and there would be progress.

Ideally there would be legislation forbidding the sale of tablets where the software cannot be exchanged with alternative software and where the hardware doesn't have open interfaces to the software.

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Anonymous Coward

x86 ARM

I dont know what the damage would be on resources trying to run x86 code on an ARM device, can anyone shed some light on that?

to be honest id rather wait for Intel to pull its finger out of its arse an make a good low power x86 chip if Win8 ARM cant run x86 code, i could understand a limitation on games etc but even if it had some kind of sandbox x86 environment that you could play with an not bugger anything up, kind of run it as a VM, of course, again i dont know what the overhead on emulating X86 on ARM is.

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You are assuming intel CAN make a good-lower power x86 chip

Hard to do when 30% of your die is spent just decoding a really old, cruddy instruction set. For the life of me I cannot understand peoples obsession with x86 code. There is probably little enough juice left over on an ARM that x86 emulation isn't very desirable (these processors are not a step up from what the software was written for). But, I still think MS would have hit a bonanza if they had pulled it off.

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