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 (opens in new tab).