Microsoft Ushers Windows 8 Era In October
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Microsoft’s uniform Windows 8 is expected to hit shop shelves in the States this October, revolutionising how Microsoft computers, tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles interact with one another.


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Windows President Steven Sinofsky

Microsoft currently offers software for computers, tablets, mobile phones and its Xbox gaming console. However, the interface on each fails to resemble one another, forcing users to learn a new set of tools for each device. This is the result of Microsoft’s identity crisis, ultimately dampens the user experience and limits device interconnectivity. 

Windows 8 is a complete refresh of the operating system’s interface, fluent in touch gestures and optimised for a variety of devices, so users can jump from one device to the next without needing a manual.

“Windows 8 is a generational change in the Windows operating system,” said Steven Sinofsky, the President of Microsoft’s Windows Division. Sinofsky describes Windows 8 as the most radical revision of Windows since its 95 iteration.

“We challenged ourselves to bring the best of mobility and the best of PCs, in an experience where you don’t have to compromise.”

An October release will see many products running the operating system in time for the Christmas rush. With the software’s genetics visible in a slew of products, customers are likely to purchase complementing devices, such as a Windows 8 tablet to suit their new Ultrabook or a Windows Phone to go with the Xbox 360 console.

So far Microsoft hasn’t shared a schedule for its Windows 8 release, but Bloomberg cite “people of knowledge with the schedule.”

 


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Analysts seem to agree with the unnamed source, warning a release later than October could set the company setup for a bloodbath instigated by rival Apple.

 “If they miss the September-October time frame, they’re going to be stuck without being able to ship anything in 2012,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Stamford- based Gartner.

“The last thing Microsoft wants to have is a situation where there are no compelling Windows tablets at a time when the new iPad looks like it’s going to be a good seller for the holidays.”

Intel’s Ultrabook category has generated hype beneficial to Microsoft. Releasing their Windows 8 OS in October will see the company ride that momentum, helping promote its new OS while proving advantageous to loyal Windows manufacturers who invested in the Ultrabook category.

The International Data Corporation estimates 5% growth in the PC category during 2012, comparing favourably to a 1.8% gain last year.

Apple isn’t making it easy for Microsoft, with the Mac computer outselling Windows for the first time in the consumer market of Q4, 2011. The company also dominates Microsoft in smartphone and tablet sales.

Read: Windows 8 Beta Available To Download Today

Windows 8 will be the first version compatible with ARM powered devices, which are common in smartphones and tablets (including Apple’s iPad). Up until now, Microsoft’s full version of Windows has always relied on Intel chips, with the company’s prototype tablet featuring an Intel processor. Intel and Microsoft’s tardiness to join the mobile trend has come at an expense to both companies, causing them to fall behind competitors. 

 

Windows President Steven Sinofsky announced last month that Windows tablets and smartphones will be compatible with both ARM and Intel powered devices.

“Our collective goal is for them to ship at the same time. I wouldn’t be saying it’s a goal if I didn’t think we could do it.”

Gartner figures indicate growth is strong in the tablet category, estimating 103 million devices sold from 2012 to 2015. Currently Apple dominates with 2/3rds market share, but that is expected to drop the 46% come 2015, with Microsoft’s share rising to 11%.

There’s been a lot of contention stipulating the PC era is dead. On the contrary, the PC era is mobile.