It has been a busy several days for Microsoft and more busy days on the way. On October 11th Microsoft announced that the New Office has reached RTM (Release to Manufacturing) milestone. This was not just for the Office 2013 suite of applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc) but for the entire Office family; Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013 and Office 365 vNext (back ended by the 2013 server versions). This is very huge! All these Office components really step up functionality and allow for greater collaboration for the enterprise. Another big benefit of this next wave of products is that all were designed and built with the cloud in mind, meaning better experience for Office 365.
From the link above you can see that Volume License (VL), MSDN and TechNet subscriptions will be able to download the full RTM bits of these products beginning in mid-November with General Availability in Q1 of 2013. Also in the announcement is the information I blogged about recently, that Office 365 will begin getting these new features in the upcoming service updates in November as well. The first thing that existing Office 365 customers will see is new versions on the Office Web Apps.
This past Tuesday the 16th Microsoft announces the pricing for the Surface with Windows RT Tablets. Microsoft also opened up the ability to pre-order the Surface with Windows RT. The pricing announced is very competitive with the iPad, the Surface with Windows RT comes in 32GB and 64GB versions. They also have two covers, the Touch and Type, which have keyboards built-in to the cover itself. These covers easily connect to the Surface and provide a great nearly fully functional keyboard that barely adds and size or weight to the overall tablet and also functions a protective cover for the tablet screen when not in use.
So what is Windows RT? We simple put it is Windows 8 that runs on ARM Processors, these are the same type of processors that the majority of other tablet OS's run on (iPad and Android) as well as smartphones. ARM processors are also somewhat synonyms with System on a Chip (SOC), combine the data, RAM and GPU processing all together. One major benefit of ARM processors is the reduced power demand for these processors so longer life running on batteries is achieved. Windows 8 RT does share much of the code base with its "big brother" Windows 8 Pro, which run on x86 processors by Intel and AMD. The difference between RT and Pro is some functionality. RT will not have windows media player but will have the Office RT products included, but some of the functionality of Office applications will be missing, such as Excel Macros. Here is some good information about the two Office versions. And here is more information about Windows 8 RT.
The Surface with Windows RT is not the only device that will be running Windows 8 RT, Asus, Dell, Lenovo and others have also announced tablets that will run Windows 8 RT.
Microsoft has also announced that a future version of Surface with run Windows 8 Pro as well. Here is a good comparison of the two Surface versions.
Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8 launch event is set for October 29th. This is big event, not only have Nokia, HTC and Samsung announced new phones that will run Windows Phone 8 but the actual operating system itself has been completed redone and is based on the same code as Windows 8 RT. This is huge! This means that now app developers can create an application once and it will run on Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 RT Tablets as well as the full Windows 8 Pro machines. When you really think about it, Windows Phone 7 gave use the "Metro" interface, now called Microsoft Design Style. This new interface and experience how now been adopted by Windows 8 and the Xbox 360. What this means is that all Microsoft interfaces are now using the same interface style, making learning/navigating one product very very very similar to the others. This to me really brings the Microsoft "3 Screens" story, Xbox, Phone and Browser/computer is very true to life now!
So my next phone for me is going to be the Nokia 920! My understanding is that this phone will be available from AT&T on November 4th! Without pricing I am sold, this phone is solid and an excellent upgrade from my current Lumia 900. My only dilemma is how I am going to talk my wife out of her scheduled phone upgrade so I can get the 920 on the two year contract price and also how I talk her into the fact I need a Surface running Windows RT as well. Please send me suggestions and hints on how I get my new toys while maintaining my marriage! J