Feeds

Windows 8

Apple iOS 7 makes some users literally SICK. As in puking, not upset

Excessive zoom and 3D-effect graphics in Apple's latest iOS is leaving some users reaching for the sick bucket

Windows 8 on ARM: Microsoft bets on Office 15 and IE10

WOA: hardware saviour to software challenges?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Battery burn baby, burn

Microsoft wants to ensure that WOA does not fall over and does not burn up the battery – the latter especially is one of the big plusses about ARM. Sinofsky says one reason there aren't any x86 code ports or virtualisation of existing apps on ARM is because this would defeat the idea of longer battery life.

With the safety blanket gone, Windows 8 brings two new ways of doing business: the Windows marketplace – a concept so far mostly pushed on the Windows Phone side of Redmond – and something called WinRT. The latter is Microsoft's Windows Runtime, a programming model and execution environment for Metro UI that lets you develop using C, C++, C#, VB.Net and Javascript. Apps will be downloaded from Microsoft's Windows Store to WOA.

"Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update," Sinofsky wrote.

Software companies run a huge risk when they change basic tenets or established practices of coding for their software. They risk losing partners and customers that might want to stick with the existing way of working and may drift over to the competition. In Microsoft's case, the threat is less that devs drift to Apple – as there's relatively little historical crossover there – but that Windows devs stick with the x86 way of life.

Microsoft hopes to keep devs on side with its conscious decision to keep the desktop and not jettison it entirely for a future of Metro-UI touch and the Windows Store. Hence Office 15. It's also the thinking behind WinRT.

Sinofsky blogged: "Some have suggested we might remove the desktop from WOA in an effort to be pure, to break from the past, or to be more simplistic or expeditious in our approach. To us, giving up something useful that has little cost to customers was a compromise that we didn't want to see in the evolution of PCs."

Success for Microsoft's Windows 8 bet will depend on two factors, however. The first is whether WinRT proves to be as smooth as Microsoft has contended. If so, then it stands a chance of carrying existing developers skilled in programming for Windows. This is something Microsoft is counting on, to open up a new platform to its standing army of coders.

WinPho and Silverlight once more

This kind of thinking was also found in Windows Phone and Silverlight. That is, if you made the tools and development framework smooth and painless enough for existing Visual Studio PC coders, they could also code for Windows Phone or Silverlight. The market didn't flip.

The second factor Microsoft is banking on – and which is more or less out of its control – will be popularity of ARM PC devices running NVIDIA, Qualcom and Texas Instruments designs that are due at the "same time" as Windows 8 for x86 systems. It's the sexiness of the device and its ease of use that has helped sell things like the iPad, iPhone and Kindle to end user and coder alike. Large market share has given developers something they can address, not simplified coding frameworks and tools.

The ARM PC makers have proved a lot less leaky and showy than their x86 cousins, so it remains an unknown just what's coming and whether they can seduce devs as successfully as Apple's iPhone and iPad. So far, all we have is Sinofsky's predictable promise that what is coming will have been worth waiting for.

"PC manufacturers are hard at work on PCs designed from the ground up to be great and exclusively for WOA," Microsoft's Windows man said.

The bet is still in play. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.