Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Microsoft Device Update

You've probably seen the adverts on TV and not really taken interest in them when they were first aired, but as you watch them more often you would take notice at what they're actually involve.What adverts am I talking about? Microsoft's Holiday party of course.

Towards the end of last year I was invited by Microsoft to a presentation on their up and coming products and software changes. The event which was held at Durban's ICC and unusually I was the first to show up, grabbed my bag of Microsoft goodies and made my way into the room where I was told I had to be seated in the special tables provided up front. 

Collin Ross: Windows Client Business Group
I was greeted by Microsoft's Collin Ross who was heading the presentation. As much as I  wantied to know why I was there and who he was my eyes couldn't get off the massive display table they had filled with laptops, tablets, desktop replacements and other computing devices.

the machines...
From devices that haven't been launched yet to concepts that will never see production. It was all there, fully functional devices for me to play with! But first back to the reason I was there, Microsoft launched in December their "Holiday Party" campaign. What is it? Basically its showing how Microsoft are using their software and online presence to link multiple applications and devices. Its like reuniting a family, you have your laptop with windows, desktop the same, X-box with live functionality and your windows mobile smart phone which all can be linked wireless to each other. Now I know what you're thinking "Microsoft? they're no where at the moment, Mac all the way!" Yes especially when it comes to mobile phones and tablets, one would tend to agree with that statement BUT...

Windows phones with mobile 7.5
Microsoft were aware of it too, hence the new range of devices soon to hit the country is like no other you've seen before. Normally the cellphone manufacturer would build the phone and buy the OS from Microsoft. Many had problems with these "Windows phones" because the manufacturers never built the phone with the correct specifications to make the most out of the operating system. What Microsoft then did was tell the various makers that, here's how we want you to build the phones, these are the specs and this is the layout. On these new phones which all are pretty similar, have Microsoft Windows mobile 7.5. Its the latest mobile OS out by Microsoft, you may recall in my Deadmau5 post, the launch of the Nokia Lumia in London, that has Windows 7.5 running on it. The OS itself along with the phones is a pretty lethal combination with the user interface and processing ability being brilliantly fast. With Windows there is nothing complicated about it so everything is self explanatory, not saying that its childish but more practical than other OS's on mobiles.

Also discussed was cloud computing, with the rate social media is exploding world wide many are taking advantage of this with their devices being more mobile but also with the new devices, storage does become a problem. One wouldn't walk around with a tablet and a huge external hard drive around now would they? Step in Microsoft Windows Live Skydrive, now if you already have a Windows Live account/ hotmail address, you already have one. What is skydrive? basically its a portion of the Internet allocated to you. You upload files to the drive and you can access them from any machine world wide. Eg: if I have a video of 50mb that I want to email to a friend, I'd upload it to my skydrive then send him the email. He wouldn't have to download the attachment to view it unless he wanted to. I was told at the presentation that at the moment, you can store up to 2gigs of data on your skydrive which is ALOT considering how many people have Live accounts.

Asus UX21E
The pick of the laptops on display had to be the new super slim Toshiba and Acer, both with solid slate drives and i7 processors. These were just bench marks of the technology of the future. These sleek sexy machines are just as powerful as any other laptop if not more and battery life is pretty impressive. All of them were running Windows 7 and to say it was running smooth was an understatement.

Acer Aspire S3
 Now one who is reading this must be thinking that Windows is just ripping off Mac, first with the phone, now with the Mac book pro equivalent. Well yes you're right and no you're wrong in a way. Mac's for eg the iPad are generally used by people for an entertainment aspect. Its a cool device no doubt, the app's are brilliant but 80% of the time its hardly used for business. Just buy a laptop is what most will be saying, why though? We have made devices like this, why cant we use it for business as well? sure you can load Microsoft Office for Mac but that's just pricey. What if there was a windows alternative? Pretty soon there will be and it might be more powerful than most laptops. Mecer had on display their new slate which was powered by an Intel Core i5 processor. Yes a core i5 processor in a slate drive!

The downfall to it is the weight and thickness, but its not being put into production just yet as they are addressing those issues. BTW, that's what Windows 8 looks like, yes Windows 8 but more about that later. Apart from showcasing the serious stuff, they did have some other cool stuff on display for us. How many times have you watch CSI and they're busy on the heads up touch screen display and Horatio asks for the image to be shown on the big LCD and with a quick flick the guy almost throws the image onto the screen in front. Fake surely? not anymore, Windows have made that technology now! By syncing the devices to the TV, one can access video's, songs or pictures via your portable device but view them on another display. i.e the video will only play on the TV while you can carry on doing other work on your device. Cool huh? That's not the best part. Everyone knows about Kinect, the device made for the X Box which enables the user to control the games via movement, no controller needed. Now Microsoft are researching ways in using Kinect with PC's! They had on display a laptop with the device hooked up and just by hand movements, one could access documents, view slide show presentations and even draw on MS Paint. The technology is still under development but the possibilities with it are endless.

Now back to what I said earlier, yes Windows 8 is almost here. I say almost because the developers edition is out so the programmer's from the various software companies are busy writing programs and apps for the software. From the little I've seen of it, it does seem to be a very touch orientated software. So if you have touch screen devices, it will be superb and hence the catch phrase is "touch tomorrow". The layout is different from the norm. There is no normal desktop with start bar. Everything is in tiles, but if you do prefer a desktop, there is one available by simply selecting the tile.

I don't really have a preference when it comes to things PC, I just like whats best and easy to use. Microsoft hasn't really taken a hit in the market with sales as many still purchase their products as a given. So its good to see them taking the initiative and making products that appeals to the modern generation that want these cool gadgets. They could have very well just sat back and leave it be but they didn't and from what I've seen they're ready to give their competitors a good run for their money!

1 comment:

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