In case you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on their next operating system dubbed Windows 8. Despite the naming convention, it is a major departure from previous iterations. Gone is the famous “Start” button, and in its place is a whole new design that Microsoft calls “Metro.”
While Apple is slowly merging its iOS and OS X operating systems, Windows 8 has been designed from the get-go to provide a truly unified experience between all of your devices, whether it’s a smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. The real kicker here is that this could be the first generation of tablet computers to truly replace a desktop or laptop.
2 weeks ago ZDNet announced that we had completed the first enterprise-level app for Windows 8 tablets, and the interest we’ve received since then has been amazing. People that have seen the app in real life are blown away by how elegant and simple an enterprise productivity application can be.
With apps that are as easy to use as they are easy to look at, a major shift could be underway for people who find themselves working in the field. Since these Windows 8 devices can run every productivity app they’re used to (yes, including Office), they may no longer need multiple devices. Simply take your tablet with you on the road, and when you return home put it in a dock with external monitor and keyboard and it becomes your desktop.
What About Developers?
Apps are great to talk about, but without a robust developer community a platform is doomed to fail. Luckily for Microsoft, they have the largest developer community in the world. And they plan to entice that community very heavily with incentives.
Once an app in the Microsoft Windows 8 store hits $25,000 in sales, Microsoft reduces its cut of the sale from 30% down to 20%. Compared to Apple’s App Store that is a tremendous pricing advantage for developers. In addition, developers can use their own commerce engine inside the application and keep 100% of the revenue – a far cry from Apple’s approach.
When Does This All Start?
No official release date has been made public yet, but rumors are swirling that the release candidate could be ready as early as May of this year. It's a pretty safe bet that we'll all see Windows 8 tablets in fall of this year, both Intel and ARM chipsets included.