Testing starts on Windows 8 and Office 15

The Microsoft production line is gearing up to deliver new versions of Windows and Office in the coming year. John Stokdyk takes some initital soundings.

Continuing its relentless schedule of product updates and enhancements, the Windows giant is moving into active pre-launch mode for both the new version of Windows, and an upgrade for the PC versions of Office.

As we saw with the last generational shift in 2010, new Windows and Office releases tend to go hand-in-hand. As the underlying operating system that drives Office and other applications, Windows tends to lead the way, so it makes sense to consider it first.

Windows 8 is already available in a Developer Preview version which can be downloaded for free. It has certainly raised some eyebrows among the techy community by attempting to straddle the worlds of desktop PCs and mobile smartphones, to mirror what Apple has already done with its Apple’s OSX and iOS operating systems.

If you can’t be bothered with the full download, taking a peek at a Windows Phone like the Nokia Lumia 800 recently reviewed by AccountingWEB’s Henry Osadzinski will give you an idea what to expect from the Windows 8 “Metro” user interface.

The Metro interface is based around a modular set of tiles: graphical blocks that can be customised and manipulated by the user. For those of a truly techy disposition, Microsoft is adapting Windows to run on the British-designed ARM processors that power many of the most successful smartphones - you can find out more from a recent Microsoft blog post about Windows on ARM (WOA).

Based on his experiences trying out both Windows Phones and the Windows 8 developer preview, Osadzinski told me, “While the Metro UI is a nice addition for tablet/mobile users, I hope that it’ll be optional for desktops. It’s definitely a good step forward as Microsoft moves into a unified platform that, if successful, would even overtake iOS/OSX for convenience and platform mobility.”

Office 15 (which could emerge as Office 2012) is a little further behind Windows, but was released for a technical preview with a group of selected users at the end of January.

Thanks to David H Ringstrom for background information published on our US sister site AccountingWEB.com.

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Comments
anthonymellor's picture

thanks for a timely heads up    1 thanks

anthonymellor | | Permalink

spot on as I am trying to become familiar with Win 7 and Office 2010

Anthony

cverrier's picture

My take....    1 thanks

cverrier | | Permalink

I wrote a blog post with my initial thoughts on how Win8 might take shape a few weeks back.

http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/blog-post/windows-8-why-should-we-take-notice

The next release of Windows 8 will be the so-called 'Consumer Preview' version - due on  February 29th - This will have a lot of the rough edges taken off compared to the Developer Preview, and should be close to looking and behaving like the final released version of the software.

Since I wrote the blog post, Microsoft have been, if anything, more aggressive about the new look and feel.  It even looks as if their next major smartphone release will also run on the same fundamental architecture as desktop Windows 8

The old 'desktop' metaphor for computer interface design will be around for a bit longer, but its end is on the horizon.

 

John Stokdyk's picture

Thanks Charles - Sorry I missed it!

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Your blog is really informative about the subject - and obviously the result of having spent longer with the actual operating system than I have.

The unified operating systems and communications scenario is beginning to catch on (there's an entire event devoted to it in London on 6-7 March. I'm hoping to go, but would welcome any feedback from any other members who attend.

These are definitely interesting times - keep an eye out for further smartphone and mobile communications coverage.