The Next Generation of Microsoft Products
Windows 8 – Windows Phone 8 – Surface

Microsoft is making many big improvements and changes to their major products and they will all be available very soon. Although everyone may not need to upgrade there are some really nice improvements that will make a person’s work easier and more secure. Overall, Microsoft is really trying to integrate all their products together so they work and communicate with each other. I believe this is a competitive move to help combat Apple products and services. Our computer support technicians in Bozeman have been trying to keep up on these latest products and the improvements they offer and we wish to share some of them with you. I will be writing more details about different products in more detail later, but this is meant as more of a quick overview.

Windows 8
This has just recently been released to manufacturers to start loading on their new systems, but the release to the public will be October 26th. I have lightly tested this for a few months now using a BETA copy. So far there are two big changes that really stick out. One is that Microsoft has created Windows 8 to be touch-friendly. It can easily be used with touch screens such as computer monitors, laptops and tablets.  The second big change is that there is no Start Menu. Microsoft has had the Start Menu for ages and ages and although they have made improvements to it they felt a next generation “Start Menu” needed to be created. Meet the Start Screen with Live Tiles.

Windows Phone 8
Yes, I typed that right; phone. Many people thought Microsoft was late to the game when they announced their Windows Phone 7 product last year, but actually they have had their Windows Mobile products for phones for many, many years. It was touch-screen, but you had to use a stylus pen to select things on the screen. To keep up with competition they totally revamped the product from the ground up. The latest of their phone OS, Windows Phone 8 will be out later this year and will actually be based on the Windows 8 experience and will offer several nice features that integrate with Windows 8 and link the two with a cloud service that Microsoft also has, SkyDrive.

Microsoft Surface
The surface is a touch-screen tablet. Microsoft said they didn't want to get into the tablet market earlier, because it was so restrictive. A tablet is not a computer replacement… you can’t do everything you can on a tablet that you can do on a computer. The Surface fixes this and is a totally new animal. The Surface bridges the gap between tablets and computers. The Surface will run a full working version of Windows 8 or their light-weight version, RT! This opens many great possibilities for businesses; it can connect and work with servers and synchronize your settings with your desktop computer and both can run the same programs and share settings. Although it will, of course, have a touch-screen keyboard, the Surface will have the option to have a very thin screen cover that, when unfolded, is also a keyboard. You can use the Surface kickstand to stand it on a desk or table and also use the keyboard. The keyboard connects by a magnet and can be disconnected at any time or simply folded behind the tablet.

In closing, I will talk about more details later, but this will give you a quick idea of things to come. There are many BIG changes here and I believe the general public will either love or hate them. Microsoft is spending tons of money trying to change the way people and companies see them and trying to make their products more friendly, easier to use, be more intuitive and just plain look better. It is a very exciting time for Microsoft.

Bigsky Computers Solutions is always looking for products and services that will benefit their managed IT customers. If you have questions about your business computer needs please call us for a free IT evaluation at 406-414-0532.