Windows 8 hardware and software doesn’t officially go on sale until October 26th, but apparently The Home Shopping Network didn’t get the memo. Either that or they did get the memo, but just chose to ignore it. The online portal for the popular shopping television show is offering up 5 different machines from Gateway and Acer, all of which feature Windows 8 pre-installed. The models shown are hardly remarkable, however as ZDNet’s Ed Bott points out, the marketing materials confirm what we all feared. Crapware is alive and well on Windows 8, and Microsoft seems powerless to prevent it.
In an atypically terse post on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft announced on Friday that many of the apps that come with Windows 8 will be receiving updates in the lead-up to the October 26 release of Windows 8 and Windows RT. According to the company, it has been beavering away on bringing new features and improvements to these built-in apps since August.
Microsoft has to be pleased as punch to see so many hardware partners unveil Windows 8-based products leading up to the next generation operating system's launch later this month. Today that entails Acer lifting the curtain from its Iconia W700 tablet PC. Or, as the company is pitching it, a high-performance mobile PC in a tablet PC form factor. The $800 price tag certainly matches that description, but what about the rest of the device?
In just over three weeks from now, Windows 8 will launch to the public, and thus will begin the court of public opinion. Until then, there are plenty of reviews to digest (including our very own), and one of the newest is from Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft who, like Bill Gates, is no longer directly involved with the Redmond company. Still, it's interesting to read what he has to say about Windows 8, considering all that's at stake.
Following the unmitigated disaster that was the TouchPad, Hewlett-Packard has kept a low profile in the tablet market, with the Windows 7-powered Slate 2 tablet PC being the only HP-branded tablet device to have hit the market since then. In August, John Solomon, senior VP of HP's Americas printing and personal systems division, said that the company’s Windows 8 tablet would pack “some unique intellectual property.” We now know what Solomon was talking about back then.
Together Microsoft and Intel have ruled the PC industry for a ridiculously long time, but with smartphone and tablet sales going through the roof, they now have a lot to think about. While both parties don’t seem entirely averse to venturing out of their longstanding relationship, Intel’s Android-compatible Medfield SoC and Microsoft’s ARM-friendly Windows RT OS seem little more than half-hearted attempts at being unfaithful. On Wednesday, however, a report that Intel CEO Paul Otellini had been heard criticizing Windows 8 in a recently held company meeting in Taiwan painted a slightly different picture.
Only time and sales figures will ultimately determine if Windows 8 is a success or not, and in the meantime, all we can do on the consumer side is speculate. Microsoft, however, is in a position to do more. The Redmond software giant could, for example, come up with a Plan B in case Windows 8 and its radically redesigned interface doesn't catch on with consumers. Interestingly, it doesn't appear Microsoft is too worried about that scenario playing out.
Dogfooding is a term you hear applied to software companies quite often, however Microsoft is taking it to a whole new level. We’ve heard on more than one occasion that Microsoft believes they are betting the company on Windows 8, and what better way to go all in than to make your employees use it full time. Mandating Windows 8 use in the work place might sound like cruel and unusual punishment to those who disagreed with our mostly positive review of Microsoft’s new OS, but what if we told you it has an amazing upside?