A big week for Microsoft with new Surface devices

By 21st June 2012Technology
A Big Week for Microsoft

The new ‘Surface’ tablet

As many people will know, Microsoft unveiled it’s own Windows RT / Windows 8 tablet earlier this week. The device is called ‘Surface’ and it seems that Microsoft are aiming to compete with Apple and Google by creating their own tablet, as well as allowing for other hardware companies to create their own Windows tablets such as Samsung and HP.

As mentioned before, the Surface tablets will come in two flavours one running Windows RT which is like a “Basic” version, and the other running Windows 8 Pro which as in the name is like a “Professional” version which will run on Intel Ivy Bridge processors.

The one cool thing about the Surface tablets is their covers. From the presentation given it made out like the devices will come with the covers in box but I may have mis-heard so don’t take my word for it. The “Touch Cover” as it has been named is similar in some way to the magnetic covers that were introduced for purchase with the released of the iPad 2. But unlike it, this cover has a touch keyboard on the opposite side, and with the tablets nifty kick stand, the tablet turns into looking like a laptop! The cover also has an accelerometer in it so that if you aren’t using it as a keyboard and have folded it over to just hold the device, the cover will know this by the accelerometer and will disable the touch!

There wasn’t really much details on price or release, but it looks like the RT version will be available on release of the OS while the Pro version will be released later. I think I will be waiting for the Pro 🙂

A Big Week for Microsoft

The new Windows Phone 8

Another big announcement from yesterday was the new Windows Phone 8 OS. Unfortunately for all of us Windows Phone 7 users, our phones won’t support the new version of the OS so we will have to buy new phones which is a right kick in the balls but as pointed out by a friend of mine, it’s business. I do feel that Nokia have cheated people though. They must have had knowledge about the new operating system and could have made their mobile phones ready for the update by having better hardware.

That aside, there are obviously some new features coming in the new version which will pull together Windows 8 and this new phone OS. One of the most important things about the OS is that it will have all of the core elements of the Windows 8 OS which means that the two are very similar in architecture. It also seems that it will be much easier for developers to develop a Windows 8 application and simply port it to the Windows Phone 8 OS. They are also making it easier for non-Windows Phone developers to port their applications to the device too, so all of those Android and iOS apps you love will be joining the Windows Phone market at some point in the future. It’s already been confirmed that Zynga are making their classic apps for the device which will include Draw Something although I believe they are pretty late to the party. The hype of Draw Something in my opinion has died.

Memory card support will also be available in the new OS which is pretty cool. It means that I can have all my music and videos what not on a memory card which I can use with all my computers rather than having to install software just to synchronise my phone.

The biggest change to the OS is in cosmetics. “Live Tiles” are a lot sleeker now and look a lot better across the home screen and I’m glad that Microsoft have sort of kept the same thing with the Windows 8 OS where you can shrink and enlarge tiles. The tiles seem more customisable in terms of colour too which allows the user to really feel like the phone is unique to them.

It really seems that Microsoft has listened to their consumers with the phone operating system but it’s a shame that it won’t be an update. They have promised a 7.8 update for old devices which will sort of look like the new OS, but we all know that it will never be the same as having a Windows Phone 8 device.

Let’s hope that Surface and Windows Phone 8 are released together at the same time. I hope to have both devices in the near future!

About James Croft

James is a .NET developer for Black Marble Ltd. with over 5 years app development experience in Microsoft platforms. He enjoys blogging, helping others learn to code, making YouTube videos, spending time with his girlfriend but most of all, penguins.

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