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.
About John Stokdyk
John Stokdyk is the global editor of AccountingWEB UK and AccountingWEB.com.