The Windows 8 Start screen shows off live tiles and Charms
Here's how Windows 8 is shaping up for business, based on the thoughts of key Microsoft execs .
Windows 8 for business
Determined to slay the idea that Windows 8 tablets are no good for business use, Dustin Inglis - Partner Group Program Manager for the Windows Core team - said that Windows tablets could
be great enterprise tools because they could display live business information such as pending invoices, recent updates, and stock prices, running as tiles in the Start screen. He showed off a means of running a Windows 8 enterprise management workstation from a memory stick. Windows To Go is, Inglis said, an IT managed, BitLocker protected enterprise workstation run from external storage. He showed how you could run Windows To Go from a USB stick: simply boot from the stick, enter your BitLocker password and your enterprise version of Windows is physically running on your PC's processor, graphics, and hardware, but using software that is entirely separate from the host machine.
According to Inglis, Windows RT is also a useful business platform. He said the ARM OS has a trusted platform module, a network level VPN tool that lets you work with enterprise level protection. There's also means of sideloading apps from your company network, bypassing the Windows Store entirely. Windows RT also includes remote devices management, via which you can reboot, locate, and wipe smartphones and tablets. He also showed off means of running X86 Windows apps on a Windows RT tablet using 'RemoteApp' - a virtualised way of running X86 apps on RT.
Windows 8: the rationale
Earlier, Antoine Leblond, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Windows Web Services opened up the event by stressing the unique opportunity that Microsoft feels Windows 8 offers. He said that Windows offers unprecedented scale, with what he claimed was more than 600 million Windows 7 licences sold, and a PC users base of more than a billion people.
He said that everthing that is good about Windows 8 represented changes in the world of computing since the launch of Windows 95, citing the shift from desktops to laptops, and admitting that "tablets will probably outsell laptops next year [in certain areas]" over the next year. He said that Windows 8 PCs had to take account of the way that power sources change the way we use technology: when you have infinite power you use the CPU as much as possible, but as these days battery life is crucial, Windows engineers have worked to put devices to sleep at every opportunity, even between keystrokes, in order to save battery life.
Leblond also cited touch as an example of how tech has changed. He said that five years ago touch was niche, but now every smartphone was touch enabled, and tablets, and laptops were touchscreen devices. Connectivity is now ubiquitous, and we expect to be able to access and share all our content, wherever we are. Meanwhile the line between home and work has blurred.
Thus, Leblond said, the aims of Windows 8 were to take the best of Windows 7, look forward to the way people use PCs and will use PCs in the future, adding in what he called a 'beautiful, fast and fluid user interface' that is 'designed for the broadest range of devices'. He said that Windows 8 is simply a better Windows than Windows 7 - and we'll find out soon!