Windows 8 at WPC’11, Immersive Office confirmed?

Yesterday Steven Exciting Bee (Ballmer) and Jon Roskill kicked off WPC 2011 with an opening keynote addressing their partners, showing some of their products and giving some sale figures. Windows 8 got a small preview in the end, when guest speaker Tami Reller started mentioning Windows 8, you could literally feel the suspense all over Twitter. Unfortunately the suspense was quickly killed, as the //damn// woman was more obsessed with Windows 7 talk. She did, however show the Building Windows 8 #1 video and gave a quick overview. While many said it was exactly the same as what Sinofsky showed at D9, she said several interesting (and to me, new) things.

1) Office 15 will run as a tailored/Immersive application(?)

At D9 last month, Mossberg interrupted the presentation by asking why they didn’t rewrite Office to match the look and feel of Windows 8. Sinofsky & Julie Larson Green picked up and said that it would be a hard thing to do for applications like Access, ending with “but they máy do something in the future”.

On the slides at WPC11, the home screen is slightly different  from the D9 or Computex demo, this time featuring a yellow Office icon. On today’s PCs, there isn’t really a Office hub, each Office application is separated. In Windows 8, one would pin Word or Excel to the Start Screen, which they showed at D9 and Computex. This is different. The Office icon indicates there’s some way to manage and possibly edit Office documents, possibly in a Metro UI. You can view this in the above image. You can also see a Netflix tile.

Or I could be all wrong and it might be a pinned website linking to Office Web Apps/Office 365.

2) Windows 8 will have the same, or less specs as Windows 7 has today

Microsoft said that manufactors won’t have to worry about Windows 8. Windows 8 was designed with touch in mind, but works equally well with mouse & keyboard. All current hardware will work with Windows 8, even better, the specs might be lower. From what I’ve understood, even though they might not have said it directly, they want to have both PCs with Windows 7 and Windows 8 sold at the same time. Very much the same as Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone 7 did.  This makes sense, as the move from Windows 7 to 8 is big, and not immediately a step companies want to make on day one, certainly not when they’re in the middle of upgrading their XP clients to Windows 7.

3) All Applications will appear on the Start Screen

 Tami said that all applications will appear on the start screen. I hope Microsoft considers that there are many people using LOTS of applications, and provide organizing ways similar to, or better than, Windows Phone 7.

4) It doesn’t end here

WPC still has several days left. At the time I’m writing this, several people are having a session about Windows 8 Server, and rumors are floating around that there’s a private session about Windows 8. If that isn’t enough, a Windows 8 tablet has been spotted in the background during a live demo.

Tani concluded that their new BUILD conference in September will provide “the first deep dive into the future of Windows”. September sounds so far, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

You might have noticed how Windows Phone 7 almost always comes up when I’m talking about Windows 8. The similarities are fairly apparent, and I’m sure the way of developing applications will be highly similar too. I’m planning on taking a look at Windows Phone 7 specific development in the future (e.g: App Bar, Touch input, Live Tiles) as these things are also present in Windows 8.

*Image Credit: My Digital Life Forums*

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