30 Oct 2012
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The week that was: Windows 8, Surface, iPad Mini and a Cancelled Android Event

By Alistair Ross

Friday was the day that completed the week that was in the shape of 'things to come' for the 'Post-PC era'. Apple kicked it off on the 23rd with the not-so-shocking announcement of the iPad Mini and Microsoft wrapped it up with the release of Windows 8 and their Surface tablet.

Then there was the stuttering let down. First it was Microsoft, saying that their Surface wouldn't be (ahem) surfacing in NZ for a 'while'. How long a while is, nobody is sure (least of all Microsoft it would seem). The pricing of Surface cannot also be revealed, and whilst NZ was officially the first country (thanks to our time zone) to get Windows 8, it'll be a while before OEMs actually start shipping it out the door. Following Microsoft was the mobile manufacturers, notably Samsung and Nokia who failed to give release dates for the much touted Nokia Lumia 920 handset, the showpiece device of the Windows 8 Mobile platform.

Finally, Google announced that due to the raging storms in the east coast of the USA, that they would be withholding their press release about the upcoming release of Android 4.2 and the latest devices such as the Nexus 10.

It's hard to criticize Apple over product delivery - when they say a device will ship on a particular day, they say it will be this day and lo, the devices will be there in store fronts to be adorned by thousands of camping Apple fanboys and girls.

Although the Surface is currently available in the USA and is available to pre-order in Australia, Microsoft couldn't be coerced into saying anything other than 'Some time in November' with regards to the release of Surface for New Zealand. Watch this space.

All the delivery stuff aside, this is a crucial, make or break time for Steve Ballmer's company, where consumers and corporate lines are merging and Apps are becoming king - not operating systems, it will remain to be seen if Microsoft have realised all of their Windows Vista and later stagnation mistakes and championed their new 'one size fits all' approach. Microsoft say that building apps for the ARM CPU based tablet computers running Windows 8 RT will be easy to convert from a standard Intel based PC running Windows 8. This will be up to the developers ultimately to prove. It could either be genius - having apps run across multiple platforms seamlessly like Apple managed in the Power PC - Intel transition era, or comic chaos as bad ports and buggy compiler issues rear their heads. Whatever the outcome, this is in many minds, the end of the road for Microsoft - win over hearts, minds and importantly, wallets now, or become another chip on the rusting pile of silicon in the valley. Or should that be Seattle?

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