Microsoft's Office Next blog reports that Windows RT devices will ship with a pre-release version of Office Home & Student 2013 RT next month.
According to Microsoft, the pre-release version will contain preview editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Once the final version is released, the Windows RT device will be automatically updated for free via Windows Update. An actual launch schedule will be provided on October 26, but expect to see the full upgrade starting in early November through January, depending on the customer's native language.
Thursday's blog actually goes into detail regarding what consumers should expect from Office for Windows RT. The update even points out the differences between it and the Windows 8 x86/x64 version which, according to Microsoft, are "subtle" at best. Office Home & Student 2013 RT includes the vast majority of Office Home & Student 2013 features available on PCs, and the features customers use most, the company said.
Here's the list of differences:
* Macros, add-ins, and features that rely on ActiveX controls or 3rd party code such as the PowerPoint Slide Library ActiveX control and Flash Video Playback
* Certain legacy features such as playing older media formats in PowerPoint (upgrade to modern formats and they will play) and editing equations written in Equation Editor 3.0, which was used in older versions of Office (viewing works fine)
* Certain email sending features, since Windows RT does not support Outlook or other desktop mail applications (opening a mail app, such as the mail app that comes with Windows RT devices, and inserting your Office content works fine)
* Creating a Data Model in Excel 2013 RT (PivotTables, QueryTables, Pivot Charts work fine)
* Recording narrations in PowerPoint 2013 RT
* Searching embedded audio/video files, recording audio/video notes, and importing from an attached scanner with OneNote 2013 RT (inserting audio/video notes or scanned images from another program works fine)
"In doing research for Office for Windows RT, we spoke to people to understand how they use current, in-market tablets," Microsoft states. "We wanted to understand what was missing that would make for a more compelling experience. One answer was nearly unanimous – people wanted a complete Office experience; not just a viewer. However, they also wanted a version of Office that was optimized for the tablet form factor – most importantly supporting touch and providing long battery life."
Customers will also notice that Office on Windows RT will stop blinking the cursor after a few seconds if the user stops interacting with the application. Believe it or not, that's to save battery power given that there's no hardware or operating system support for a blinking cursor. When the user is away, Microsoft merely shows a fixed, non-blinking cursor which requires no timer and is "the best power citizenship option."
"The most actionable thing that drives battery utilization is how often we wake up the CPU to do work, especially when the user is not actively typing, scrolling, etc. CPU power state transitions are expensive," Microsoft writes. "To reduce these transitions, we want to avoid breaking up work across multiple CPU wake ups. Instead, whenever possible, we try to do all the required work at once. We focused on two things to reduce net wake ups: 1) coalesce timers and 2) remove the need for some timers entirely."
To read the full blog, head here.
I'm certainly holding out for an RT tablet to see if they can be competitive on price with the Nexus 7 and new Kindle Fire HD models. I'm interested to see what the OEMs will release in addition to the Surface.
Competitive on price? Depends on your definition. I don't think there is any reasonable expectation for these to be in the less-than-$199 price range. These are considered to be as close to an x86 Windows PC as you can get without actually being one, and not just a media consumption tablet like the Kindle or Nexus. I personally expect that they would fit more in line with iPad pricing. It would be nice if I was wrong (and they were cheaper), but just don't honestly see that happening. I'm also waiting in the competition, but more to the point: I'm waiting for an OEM to produce an AMD tablet because Atom and PowerVR graphics don't thrill me, and I'm not putting down $1000 for a IB tablet with a faster CPU but still shitty graphics. I want respectable graphics on a media tablet, and that means it has to be able to handle modern D3D. This is to be my laptop replacement, and I want a GPU that is at least equal to what I get with a Brazos-2 APU.
Clover Trail IS underpowered and this is why: it uses the same PowerVR chipset that ARM chips do (for the ones that do use PowerVR), and here's the thing: Microsoft only requires DX9 support for SoC's (originally only for ARM, but Intel got Microsoft to include x86 in a certification spec update) which Intel is only happy to oblige by meeting the MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS on x86. This sounds like a another repeat of Windows 7 Starter and Vista Basic all over again. Remember, both of those disasters were Intel's fault because they wanted to pawn off low-end chips based on obsolete technology. This is the reason why I'm waiting for AMD. AMD's SoC's will be based on full x86 hardware with AMD-V and 64-bit with DX11 GPU cores out of the gate. AMD has never produced a low-end CPU or platform chipset that didn't meet Premium certification specs for Windows. System manufacturers may have undercut their systems by selling it with a non-Premium Windows SKU to fit it into a low price point, but not because AMD wanted to sell an inferior chip.
Intel is the reason why Microsoft made those Windows SKU's. First it was for 915 chipset for Vista-Ready/Basic. Microsoft only wanted to sell Basic for the first year of availability and when SP1 launched, they updated the Premium requirements to require a DX10 GPU, but Intel still had 945G chipsets on the market, so Microsoft kept Vista Basic around. Then you have Atom coming onto the market, which was such an underperformer that Microsoft had to re-release a special version of XP for, which they wanted to kill off. Come time for Windows 7, and again it was Intel that wanted to continue to make inferior Atom chipsets still based on 945 chipsets, so Microsoft released 7 Starter to accomodate them. Meanwhile, AMD was matching all of the WHQL Premium specs as they being updated. See, this is why I don't care for Intel. They are the reason why there is such a specification difference between the low and high end. After not being able to profitize on the netbook craze, now they're trying the other end of the spectrum and try to profitize more on higher-end notebooks with the Ultrabook platform. The problem is, customers have already had a taste of mainstream systems selling for $600 and less, so Ultrabooks just having been selling well. Intel just doesn't get the mainstream consumer market one bit. I would say that this is also the reason why they keep pushing higher CPU speeds with little regard for graphics. AMD looks at typical consumer usage scenarios and it's all about media consumption (some creation), GPGPU, and standard (but not heavy) multitasking. So they take a more balanced approach to what they call "visual computing" and they seem to have a better grasp on the direction of computing. ARM is getting there, but quite frankly, they need more up-to-date GPU's and they also need to get the GPGPU integration done properly. And they also need 64-bit done right. AMD is the partner that ARM needs for this. An AMD-ARM SoC with ARM's low-power RISC cores, 64-bit technology built by AMD for ARM, DX11 GPU cores and GPGPU integration would be a market force to be reckoned with.