Expect September to be a month of Windows Phone 8 handset reveals, and late October to be the official launch of the coming devices.
We Microsoft watchers already knew October was going to be a crazy month, given Windows 8’s general availability date is October 26.
But until this week, I didn’t realize just how jam-packed that month is really going to be.
A source of mine privy to Microsoft’s event plans, who asked not to be named, just shared with me dates and tentative locations for a number of Microsoft’s upcoming launches. Some of these we suspected; a few we knew.
Windows Phone 8’s build-up to launch started today, August 29, with Samsung showing off what’s officially the first Windows Phone 8 device (but offering no pricing or availability details). September 5, Nokia is expected to show off some of its planned Windows Phone 8 devices, with AT&T rumored to be the lead carrier for them. And HTC is expected to be next out of the gate with Windows Phone 8 handset(s) — around mid-September, I hear.
But October — specifically late October — is when things really ramp up.
October 25, the day before general availability, will be Microsoft’s big launch event for Windows 8 and the Surface RT. And that event will be in New York City, the site of most recent previous Windows launches. (I don’t know specifically where this event will be, but selfishly think it’s nice that it’s on home turf for me.) Windows 8 and the Surface RT ARM-based devices should be available (at least technically) at midnight, following the launch event.
October 29 will be the official “launch” of Windows Phone 8, I am told. I’m hearing this event will likely be on the west coast, either in San Francisco or Los Angeles. (Again, I don’t know exactly where. A photo studio? Outside an Apple store?) But this is considered the “consumer launch” of the product, with handsets to be made available starting a week or two later, meaning early November, as other sources of mine had indicated.
October 30 to November 2 is Microsoft’s Build 2012 conference, where the Softies will talk all things developer-focused around Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Azure, Xbox, and more. If you’ll be in the Redmond vicinity on October 30, we’re holding our second Build Blogger Bash that evening (tickets are limited and on sale now).
(In November, the coming Xbox Live dashboard update is expected to arrive, but I don’t have details as to whether there will be an Xbox event to coincide or where it will be.)
I asked a Microsoft spokesperson to confirm this timetable and was told there would be no official comment.
See on www.zdnet.com
Microsoft appears to be readying a new version of Skype that’s designed for the new Windows 8 interface. An image of the Skype Metro style app leaked to Twitter this week, showing how Microsoft has optimized its voice and video calling service for upcoming Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. The new version of Skype matches existing Metro style apps from Microsoft and uses a sidebar to display status and message history.
The application is clearly marked as “App Preview” in screenshots posted by Neowin — indicating that Microsoft may be preparing to release a public preview version shortly or it’s in the middle of a beta testing phase internally. Other features include the ability to initiate voice and video calls, pinned favorites, and access to pay as you go or pay monthly options for Skype calling. We reached out to Microsoft regarding the leak and a company spokesperson says it has “nothing to share at this time” regarding beta or final availability.
See on www.theverge.com
Windows 8 users need not do without a Start button, thanks to an open source application titled Classic Shell that can banish the Interface Formerly Known As Metro (TIFKAM).
El Reg’s antipodean lab installed Classic Shell on a Windows 8 RTM virtual machine running under Oracle VirtualBox on Mac OS 10.7.4. We can report that the application installed without a hint of trouble, and as soon as we clicked in its shell-like Start button we were offered a nice set of options to arranged Windows 8 so that it resembled versions of Windows past.
There’s even an option to load up Windows 8 without ever seeking the TIFKAM screen, while the app also happily disables the “active corners” features that invokes the tiled interface.
Classic Shell’s origins lie in another controversial Microsoft operating system, Windows Vista, which the authors so despised they set to work on an alternative .
The authors aren’t 100 per cent certain that Classic Shell will work with Windows 8, as the app’s FAQ indicates there’s not been formal testing under the RTM version made available for download last week. We’ve not been able to test Classic Shell for long, but after an hour or so of experimentation can report that if Windows 8 is inflicted upon you, it’ll do a job.
See on www.theregister.co.uk
Though it’s not exactly an earth-shattering revelation, Microsoft has confirmed that Surface tablets will arrive October 26 along with Windows 8.
“The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices,” Microsoft said in its annual report filed this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Microsoft has said before that Surface products “would be available the same time that Windows 8” was launched, but it’s reassuring to see the date in writing.
And, remember, those are Windows RT tablets only. The Intel-based Surface Pro is expected about 90 days later, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft has also peppered disclaimers throughout the annual report (these appear often in SEC filings) about the success, or lack thereof, of Windows 8.
In fall 2012, we are launching Windows 8…Its success depends on a number of factors including the extent to which customers embrace its new user interface and functionality, successfully coordinating with our OEM partners in releasing a variety of hardware devices that take advantage of its features, and attracting developers at scale to ensure a competitive array of quality applications. We expect to incur substantial marketing costs in launching Window 8 and associated services and devices, which may reduce our operating margins.”
That last part about “may reduce operating margins” is something Wall Street will of course be watching closely. In short, if Windows 8 is not relatively successful, this may fuel doubts about Microsoft’s viability in the age of the iPad and Android.
The Surface products will be offered in basically two forms. One is expected to be a more price-friendly version running Windows RT on top of ARM chips. The other, likely a bit pricier, will run Windows 8 Pro on top of Intel “Ivy Bridge” processors.
See on news.cnet.com