Microsoft goes mobile with Windows 8, new tablet

Oct 25, 2012 by Sophie Estienne

Microsoft took a big step into mobile Thursday, unveiling a revamped version of its flagship Windows system and offering a closer look at Surface, its entry into the hot tablet market.

The new Windows 8 operating system and tablet to go on sale Friday mark a new offensive for the US tech giant seeking to keep pace with Apple and Google amid a dramatic shift away from PCs to mobile devices.

"Windows 8 brings together the best of the PC and the tablet," said Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer.

"What you have seen and heard should leave no doubt that Windows 8 shatters the perception of what a PC really is... It works perfect for work and play and it is alive with your world."

At a New York news event, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would launch Friday in 37 languages and 140 worldwide markets. It can be downloaded beginning at 12:01 am local time worldwide and will be sold at retail stores.

Analysts say the revamped Windows system provides Microsoft with an opportunity, but that dramatic changes might not be initially welcomed.

"Windows 8 looks like a big, bold, very innovative and very different new operating system," said independent tech analyst Jeff Kagan.

"The problem is that Microsoft is not giving users the chance to get used to the new operating system slowly. Instead they are launching this in an all-or-nothing way."

Rob Enderle of Enderle Group said: "Microsoft has been losing ground to both Google and Apple at an increasing pace and Windows 8 is their strongest response to date. If they miss here there will likely be major changes in Microsoft to adjust to that failure."

Microsoft is also launching a version called Windows RT, designed for tablets and available pre-installed on new devices including its own Surface tablet.

Surface is "the perfect expression of Windows," said Microsoft product team member Panos Panay. "It's exactly what Windows was designed to run on."

To show its durability, Panay dropped the device on stage, saying, "You can drop it 72 different ways." He also displayed some units modified as skateboards, with wheels attached, used by one team member.

Michael Gartenberg of the research firm Gartner said Surface "is a new category of device and one that will make sense for many consumers."

Surface, which seeks to challenge Apple's market-ruling iPads and rivals built on Google's Android software, will be among Windows-powered devices sold at Microsoft "pop up" stores to open Friday in the United States and Canada.

The news comes two days after Apple introduced its iPad mini in a bid to crowd out lower-priced offerings by rivals Amazon, Google and Samsung.

Surface—a late entry in the market—has a 10.6-inch (26.9 centimeter) screen and starts at $499, challenging the larger-format iPads.

But Surface appears to be a cross between a tablet and a PC, equipped with a flip-out rear "kickstand" to prop it up like a picture frame and a cover that, when opened, acts as a keypad to switch into "desktop" mode for work tasks.

It launches in a crowded market for tablets from Apple, Google, Amazon and others, amid forecasts that global tablet sales will surpass those of PCs within a few years.

Some analysts say the Windows RT system used on Surface and other devices offers Microsoft a chance for a fresh start in controlling both hardware and software in a single device.

The new mobile system "represents the best shot Microsoft has against Apple and Google," said Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies Associates. "WinRT is where things are going."

Windows, the first version of which was launched in the 1990s, remains the dominant PC platform with some 90 percent of the world market. But in the mobile world, it is struggling against Apple's iOS and Google's Android system.

Microsoft reported that pre-sales of Windows 8 have outstripped those of its predecessor by 40 percent.

The Redmond, Washington-based company next week will provide details on its new Windows Phone 8 operating system designed for its push into the smartphone market.

Explore further: Apple sees iCloud attacks; China hack reported

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User comments : 7

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VendicarD
3 / 5 (6) Oct 25, 2012
It's all down hill from here Kids.

Ball Boy Ballmer has to go.
JoeBlue
2 / 5 (8) Oct 25, 2012
@Vendicar - You're just proving how much of a troll you are. This product fills a niche very well, and is the first of it's kind. no matter how much everyone wants to kick and scream having a mobile Windows OS is completely useless without having the access to Works. Windows 8 put's the full OS on the ARM architecture with Works as well.

This is a huge step for Windows. It's a step in the right direction.

indio007
2 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2012
Step in the right direction? They are trying to lock down Windows like IOS. Pretty soon people will being paying a fee to execute programs.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2012
That is the ultimate goal.

"Pretty soon people will being paying a fee to execute programs." - indio007

Software as a service.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2012
Ya. Fools said the same thing about Windows Bob, and vista.

"This is a huge step for Windows." - JoeBlue

You should change your name to Clippy.

How do you intend to punish yourself when W8 is revealed as Microsoft's greatest Failure?

The time is currently 2 hours to Windows Fail.

They are lined up like stacks of cord wood waiting to purchase.

Oh wait... No they aren't.

What does that tell you, Clippy?
elektron
1 / 5 (3) Oct 25, 2012
...it is alive with your world...


If you say so Steve.

Yup, this is a huge step for MS and it will take them far. All the way to the bottom of the cliff.
ChaosRN
not rated yet Oct 25, 2012
actually it is all just business, and rather than fix issues in Windoze, microwennie issues a new OS.
These are the same people who said (look it up), "no program should be larger then 618k. (of course that was before Gates discovered he could become a Ba-zillionaire)
My question is this: "is it going to be like win7, and have the garbage dumps filling with tons of legacy hardware that will not run on the new system/OS ?"