Posted by Alan Buckingham at 12:36 PM on October 17, 2012
For the past couple of months the Surface tablet from Microsoft has not only been vaporware, but also the subject of a lot of hatred from hardware makers who seem a bit put-out by suddenly having a powerful new rival. Yesterday the long-awaited pricing information was finally released, with tablets starting at $499. We also saw the first TV ad revealed and the hardware specs for the much-anticipated tablet.
Despite the controversy that many media outlets seem to want to create about Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, all indications are pointing towards a major victory from Microsoft with both the software and hardware. The operating system shot to number one on the most popular software list on Amazon and the entry-level 32 GB Surface tablet quickly sold out of pre-order, moving from “delivery by October 26th” to “delivery within 3 weeks”.
Today, the Redmond company released a new minute and a half video showing off the Surface tablet and all of it’s features, in both hardware and software. This isn’t a TV ad, but simply a way of marketing the hardware by displaying what it can do. The video so far has received very little attention, with only 324 views, but it will likely take off as it becomes better known.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:50 AM on June 19, 2012
Yesterday Microsoft held their mysterious event and unveiled the Windows Surface Tablets – both Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT versions. It was a rare time for Microsoft – the pre and post-announcement created Apple-like buzz. Fitting since the new tablets are expected to compete with Apple and Android in the marketplace.
Of course, rivals Apple and Google were watching this event closely and already planning their responses to this new device. A new iPad is likely still a ways off, but Google is set to release their much-anticipated Nexus tablet, made by Asus, within the next month. There also may be legal responses given today’s patent-happy tech industry. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his legal team watched the Microsoft announcement especially closely.
Fortunately the folks at WinSource were able to get video and audio of Cook and his lawyers during the LA event. They have posted the clip online and you can watch and listen below. If you can’t catch all of the audio then head over to their site where they have also posted a transcript of the conversation.
The event opens with a keynote on the Cloud for IT Pros given by Dave Northey. The cloud and the consumerisation of IT are the big impacts of now and Dave will cover them both. Dave suggests that business led technology a decade ago. But today consumers lead. The average home PC is more powerful than work PCs. Most consumers use Windows 7, yet XP is still used extensively in business.
The three big cloud providers are Microsoft, Amazon and Google, with room for a fourth. Cloud computing is Internet-based computing whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand like the electricity grid – Wikipedia.
Cloud Data Centre
Shared resources – stability, security, reliability, QoS, SLAs
On-Demand – pay as you go, no upfront investment, instant access, scale, no money wasted when projects fail
Public Cloud v Private Cloud
Private cloud uses own data centre. Control over data but less scale.
Regardless aim is for capacity to follow demand. What workload patterns are suitable for cloud?
- On and off, e.g. Batch jobs, video transcoding
- Growing fast, e.g. Unexpectedly successful services
- Unpredictable bursting, e.g. Spikes caused by natural disasters
- Predictable bursting, e.g. End of month for finance.
Type of cloud services
- Software as a Service (SaaS) for users
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) for developers
- Infrastruce as a Service (IaaS) for IT
- Traditional datacentre
- Virtualised datacentre
- On premises private cloud
- Off premises cloud
Virtualisation was a pre-requisite for the cloud.
The private cloud is virtualisation plus self-service, scalability and automation.
Azure is Ms’ platform as a service. It’s a developer offering linked into Visual Studio, .net, PHP and so on. Three components – Azure AppFabric for access control and comms, SQL Azure for database, Windows Azure for compute and storage.
Dave then gives a demo of some of the features of Azure including simply connecting to a folder stored in the cloud but the most impressive part was the management of all the virtual machines. In the (short) demo, a cloud-based server was provisioned with web services.
Cloud services are coming, with private clouds first followed by the move to the public cloud.
Ooh, they’ve announced a Surface device is here.
Dave also gave an inpromptu demo of Windows Phone 7 which was as much a selection of soundbites as it was a demo.
- Microsoft expects to be #2 behind Android and ahead of iPhone.
- Multiple forms factors from HTC and Nokia who make over 100 million phones per year.
- It’s a consumer device first
- Marketplace will have quality, tested apps.
- Try before you buy option available to all developers but only one version required – that’s clever.
- Average app lifetime, i.e. Find, download, try, delete is 5 mins.
- Expected that a developer wil earn 10 times as much from Windows Phone app as from iPhone.
Next up was Office 365 by Patrick Herlihy.
Office 365 is the new Software as a Service offering which includes Office, Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online and Lync Online.
Office licensed on a pay as you go per user. Full and latest version of Office. Lync will offer IM, presence and web conference from the start. Voice will arrive later.
Different licensing options for different types of users, e.g. Kiosk worker for basic options, Information worker for more. There are lots of different licensing options depending on your organisations need.
The process to moving to the cloud and using Office 365 goes through standardisation, deployment, service change and includes privacy & security considerations. In particular, most ActiveDirectories will need a good tidy.
Regarding sign on, there are two options – Ms Online IDs or new Federated IDs which allow single sign-on from existing credentials. The latter will need an internal deployment of ADFS.
DirSync synchronises the organisation’s internal ActiveDirectory with the version hosted in the cloud for Office 365. This is needed to keep online permissions etc in step with the organisation.
Exchange Online can co-exist with in-house Exchange and there are tools to move mailboxes between the two systems.
Patrick gave a quick on-line demo of the product. The on-line versions were all very similar to their Windows-based equivalent. Firefix, Safari and IE are all supported. The management tools were comprehensive as well.
The public beta of Office 365 is available now.
Patrick continued to Microsoft’s Intune, a cloud-based PC management service. It offers malware protection, alert monitoring, patch management, software and hardware inventories and remote assistance / desktop sharing. He then gave a demo of the system and it was competent enough. I could certainly see it replacing a number of separate tools. However you got the feeling that it was version 1 and version 2 would be much better. Probably best suited to SMEs with hundreds of PCs rather than thousands.
As proceeds were running late, I had to leave, missing some of the subsequent sessions. But I’ll be back…
Overall, a useful introduction to Microsoft’s vision of a cloud-based future.
Posted by KL Tech Muse at 4:50 AM on January 31, 2011
Tom Newman spoke to Timo of Multitouch Display about the multitouch display they are working on. These displays are multitouch and multiuser. You can have multiple people using the display at the same time. You can put up to 14 of these displays together.This system can run on a wall or tabletop. The displays are stackable and can be movable. The displays themselves are between 32 and 42 inches. They hope to get the display down to less the 6 inches. All the displays are run through 1 PC. The system can work with Windows , Mac OS X and Linux. They will be offering SDKs for programmers. The system will take programs created in C++, Flash or Silverlight.
Right now these displays are geared toward business and large organizations. It is found in business lobbies, museums, and hotels. However they do plan toward the consumer market. Since the what is on the screen depends on the application that are being given to it. It is just a blank screen without the applications. One possible consumer usage could be for games. This is an interesting technology and will only get better and more compelling over time