Windows 8 CTP

I have built up the CTP on a Hyper-V virtual machine. It will be interesting to have a play with it. It will also be interesting to see if it comes to market in time for NZ schools to get their hands on it for the start of the 2013 year.

What you can see there is pretty similar to my Windows 7 phone as they both use the Metro design language. Using it should be similar to Phone.

If this comes to market later this year then I could be very interested in buying a Windows 8 slate rather than an Ipad, due to the positive experience I have had so far with Phone and W8 being able to do the stuff Phone can. This doesn’t of course mean we can do x86 applications because a slate is likely to be running the ARM platform version of W8. But MS will have produced something that is every bit as good as what an Ipad can do and probably at a cheaper price, and I think schools will also take a hard look at W8 slates because MS I expect will produce something that can be integrated with existing Windows server networks. However, the ARM versions of Windows 8 will, at this stage, lack the enterprise centralised management functionality of the x86 editions, for example joining a domain and being managed by domain-based tools on servers. This seems to be Microsoft having a buck both ways on the Windows 8 platform, and being unwilling to accept an ARM-based mobile platform as competition to their dominant x86 platform. Effectively this means ARM-based Windows 8 slates are really only of value to consumers or enterprises in scenarios where they are not centrally managed. Enterprise support has been a key strength of the Windows ecosystem that is superior to most other platforms out there. Yet we have Microsoft digging their heels in on the assumption that ARM based devices can be considered equivalent or viable for traditional enterprise scenarios.
Using as an example the Galaxy Tab 8.9 which is currently an Android tablet, I would expect this type of device could be competitively priced to an Ipad and useful in a variety of educational scenarios. Of course, schools might also choose to look at OLPC devices which will probably come to market in a similar time frame. The lack of enterprise management in ARM based Windows 8 slates just means that they are less attractive to schools where there would have been an opportunity to integrate them into a traditional Windows Server managed environment. Therefore amongst all the Windows 8 hype, Microsoft has clearly missed an opportunity to make a dent in the educational marketplace where they seem to be denying reality. Maybe there are going to be viable x86 slates but most that are Windows capable are in the high price end of the marketplace, at the moment Acer and Gigabyte have one model each for example that are under $1000. Typical battery life for Windows 7 is around 5-6 hours, still better than most laptops. Maybe MS thinks in the x86 slate market enterprises will be willing to have slates that are more like traditional laptops running normal desktop apps and with similar battery life.