Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

Summary: Bloomberg is adding fuel to the rumor fires claiming that Microsoft may show off the tablet version of Windows 8 next week at the AllThingsD conference. Here's what to watch for, if and when that happens.

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Bloomberg is adding fuel to the rumor fires claiming that Microsoft may show off the tablet version of Windows 8 next week at the AllThingsD conference. If and when that happens, here's what to watch for.

Steven Sinofsky, the President of Microsoft's Windows client division, is slated to take the stage during the three-day confab, which kicks off on May 29. Ever since Sinofsky's appearance at the show was confirmed earlier this week, there's been talk that he'd show off an updated version of Windows 8 there.

In spite of Microsoft's vague claims about the accuracy of recent Windows 8 information that has leaked and been announced (by both Microsoft partners and Microsoft's own CEO), it is widely believed that there will be different user interfaces on different versions of the operating system. The version tailored to run on ARM-based tablets is expected to sport a touch-centric user interface, which has been known both as MoSH (modern shell) and the "Immersive" user interface.

As WithinWindows' Rafael Rivera noted in April, the immersive UI seems to be "a Windows Phone-inspired, Metro-like, tiles-based user interface as an alternative to the more mainstream Aero and Aero Lite (formerly Aero Basic) UIs." I've also discussed the significance of the "immersive" concept. The immersive UI is expected to be the primary (if not sole) interface for Windows 8 tablets and slates. The Aero interface is expected to be more of a classic Windows Shell and will be the UI for Windows 8 desktops and non-touch-centric Windows PCs.

With Sinofsky being Sinofsky, I'm doubtful that we'll hear him refer to anything as "Windows 8" next week at the AllThingsD show. (He prefers to call the next version of Windows "Windows Next.") I'm also highly doubtful he'll let anyone see a build number or anything that indicates how far along Microsoft is with the development of Windows 8. (I'm hearing Microsoft is fairly well along with Milestone 3, and that June 2011 may mark the end-of-development for that internal milestone build.)

If Sinofsky decides to show Windows 8 next week -- and don't let anyone kid you, it's his decision as to whether he does or not -- he'll do so to show the naysayers that Microsoft isn't totally clueless about slates/tablets.

I've heard Microsoft may share more details about Windows 8/Windows Next at the company's upcoming Worldwide Partner Conference in mid-July in Los Angeles. That may seem like a strange venue, but Microsoft's resellers are its salesforce. And the keynote line-up for the WPC event includes a disproportionate number of Microsoft OEM (original equipment manufacturer) execs. The WPC is the place Microsoft often shares its roadmaps with its partners and highlights new PCs and devices that it wants them to go out and sell.

The real launch pad for Windows 8 remains the company's mid-September developers conference, which may or may not ultimately be named as the Windows Developer Conference (WDC). Microsoft is widely believed to be planning to deliver to testers a first preview or beta of Windows 8 in conjunction with that conference. Hey, maybe we'll even hear about the Jupiter app model/platform and Visual Studio 2012 at that time. The upcoming devcon is slated for September 13 to 16 in Anaheim, Calif.

While DigiTimes reported earlier this week that Microsoft and its partners are planning to get Windows 8 on ARM out before the end of calendar 2011, I'm still hearing and believing that Microsoft isn't going to deliver certain versions of Windows 8 ahead of others. My contacts continue to believe that Microsoft will get the next version of Windows out in 2012, just like Ballmer said this week (in spite of a weak attempt to change the meaning of his original statements).

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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73 comments
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  • How many times...

    have they shown tablets do far?

    I lost count, and they still have trouble selling them.
    Economister
    • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

      @Economister
      and Ballmer will be laught out of the room
      by people using Android tablets!
      Linux Geek
      • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

        @Linux Geek

        Android tablets? Are those things still around? ;)
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • I saw my first Android tablet in the wild -

        @Linux Geek
        They where using it to prop open a window at a store I was at because the A/C was broken.
        Will Pharaoh
      • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

        @Linux Geek <br>I don't think so. Windows Tablets are going to out-sell Android Tablets and even the iPad. People don't realize that if you have a big engine, you're going to use more gas. The eye-candy in Windows alone is worth the reduced battery life. I love Windows but also have a lot of respect for Apple products.
        jimsing59
      • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

        @Linux Geek
        There's no such thing as an 'Android Tablet'. Tablets have both input and output capabilities. Android - and Apple for that matter - have no input capability (other than the stupid typing on an onscreen typewriter - sheesh!). They aren't even tablets. They're READERS.

        Moreover, how can anyone take a guy who can't even spell 'laughed' seriously?
        Major Plonquer
      • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

        @Linux Geek I don't think that 5 people are going to be able to laugh him out of a room ;-)
        non-biased
        • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

          @Major Plonquer No imput capability? You can use a keyboard on both Android tablets and the iPad. Were you just trying to prove you don't know what you are talking about?
          non-biased
    • Android Tablets?

      @Economister
      I agree, not the hotest selling devices on the market. I think a Windows tablet will change all that.
      Will Pharaoh
      • Look, ...

        @Will Pharaoh

        I would not mind a tablet that could run Windows, but it would have to have a good touch interface, run my legacy stuff, have comparable size, weight, performance including HDMI out and battery life, AND not cost a great deal more than current tablets.

        I am not sure such a device is technically or economically feasible, at least not for the foreseeable future. The closest I can come is a netbook, but they are bigger, heavier and do not have a touch interface.
        Economister
      • I agree with you there

        @Will Pharaoh
        things like the iPad and Android tablets are really geared more towards people just looking for content absortion (music, movies, eReader, ect) not really a "go on the road lets get some creation going" device, and that's what they've been designed for.

        I'm all for seeing what Windows 8 on a tablet will be - If it's more then an entertainment device ot'll do good, if it's just another music, movies, eReader then it'll have some competition out there and will likely not sell any more then the current crop of Android tablets.
        Will Pharaoh
      • Oh look, flag me for the sake of flagging

        @Will Pharaoh
        I don't see anything nasty or offensive, but lets flag me because you don't like the message. Very childish.
        Will Pharaoh
      • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

        @Will Pharaoh

        I have an Acer convertible tablet running Win 7 - think it was released over a year ago. It works as you would expect as a netbook and as a tablet when I want that form factor - battery life around 8 hours, 4G memory, dual core, 1366x768 screen. As well as touch it also has a stylus for those times when you want to write or you need some precision.

        I look forward to a Win 8 tile based UI as slick as my WP7 phone.
        tonymcs@...
    • They can sell anything according to Loverock Davidson and he's never wrong

      Don't you agree Lovie ? ....................
      Over and Out
    • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

      @Economister

      Oh, MS have tried tablets plenty of times without much more than niche success but there is a reasonable possibility that they might be more successful this time.

      First, Apple has paved the way on how a small touchscreen device ought to work and MS then (in my opinion) evolutionarily improved upon it with the WP7 interface. Without Apple MS would still be pretty clueless here. If they can bring Metro to tablets while keeping compatibility with W7 apps they would actually have a pretty compelling offering.

      Second is hardware. The first tablets MS were too heavy, too battery poor, too hot, too slow, too expensive, and not finger friendly. The current crop have gotten better but they usually still have an Achilles heel with at least one of those. The next round of hardware might very well solve it sufficiently.
      SlithyTove
      • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

        @SlithyTove Don't be silly. The WP7 is completely revolutionary. It is different then WinMo 6.5, iPhone and Android interface. By the way, I own a Droid Incredible.<br><br>Without competition, no one would really improve. Microsoft is pretty clueless ... really! Have you worked for Microsoft or is this just based on the facts that your and Apple boy.<br><br>Also, Apple had a revolutionary approach. Just look at Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9. Almost identical. It was Mac OS X that was more Revolutionary and that is debatable.<br><br>It was probably because of Microsoft's failure with tablets that lead Apple to get a clear vision of how they should be done. Of course, they would study these results to find out what the people want. It just makes sense.
        NeoZon@...
    • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

      @Economister
      I just ordered my Windows tablet 0.6 in thick, 2 lbs, gorilla glass, 8 hr battery, SSD, Wi-Fi, Win 7 Pro, multi-touch *and* stylus. And rugged (4 ft drop). It arrives in 3 weeks. It's for my industrial clients. In other words, the light weight tablets are coming, and they are having no trouble selling these, even though they are $990. This article is about an alternative UI for Windows that makes it closer to what the Win Phone has.
      batpox
      • RE: Report: Microsoft to show tablet version of Windows 8 next week

        @batpox

        What tablet? Link? I need something like that so our Doctors can read images on the fly.
        ubangeee
    • Traditional Windows tablets haven't sold well ...

      @Economister ... because OEMs have sold them as "convertibles" at premium price points. Apple has re-defined what it means to be a "tablet" and Android will see that the price will come down.
      M Wagner
  • Think it already started....

    @facebook@... :
    ...but with the "accept no reason" Windows fanboyz... a far more nasty crowd... I'd prefer the 1800's Congress men that defended the United States Steel (monopoly) and the United Fruit (government tumbler in Central America)...

    Defending MS is so 90's... so Bush's era...
    cosuna