Microsoft Discovery showed yesterday …
..why the company haven’t lost a step and mojo well it’s not in short supply.
Israel hosted the first outside the US launch event for Windows 8 and related devices with the added bonus of Microsoft Israel’s Thinknext 2012 Special Edition later in the day. Both with guest Steve Ballmer.
As you will see from my previous post, Ballmer played a pivotal role in the launch to a crowd of 5000+ Israeli technologists, entrepreneurs, Start Ups and Vendors. It’s easy to buy into the Trolls on the blogosphere that Microsoft is a down and out company unable to keep up with others in the technology market but the energy level of the crowd here at Microsoft Discovery kills that idea dead!
Hands on Windows 8 Touch Devices
The Event began with a hall full of vendors allowing every attendee to go hands on with their Windows 8 device or Windows 8 Phone. Microsoft managed to pull off an act of serious diplomacy towards their OEM partners by not pulling all the focus onto the Surface RT at least until it was mentioned by Steve Ballmer in his keynote.
My two favorites stands were Asus and HTC. Asus had a variety of tablet / hybrid tablet – laptops but the Taichi was the device I had been skeptical about until I saw and tried it. The Taichi is a laptop with a screen on each side of the top. When I heard about this I discounted it as gimmicky but when the salesperson from Asus demonstrated it by standing opposite and showing me a presentation on screen that I could also work on and not just on the same thing but another document I was blown away.
The other Asus winner was the Transformer-like Vivo RT
The quality of design and materials of the Asus devices has not faltered in any way. These are sleek, thin but sturdy devices made with attention to detail and the right materials.
HTC was displaying the HTC 8X their powerhouse Windows Phone 8 in a well designed form-factor. I use a Windows Phone 7, the HTC Titan which fits nicely in my large hands but the small changes in design, beveling the back corners of the case made for a more comfortable fit. The screen was a joy with depth of color and sharpness beyond anything I had experienced and given that it was an HTC there was no need to check the sound. IMHO HTC demolishes the competition when it comes to sound quality. If I had to choose right now between this phone or a Lumia, I wouldn’t hesitate.
The phone was fast and responsive and Windows Phone 8 OS is everything it’s meant to be.
The event itself was something to behold, here is a photo of some of the crowd waiting for the event to get started
The best review of the event I have read is from Shar-i.com giving her perspective on the day.
The Warptest perspective
Microsoft Discovery was a well polished, multimedia event clearly produced by professionals who with an initial dance number, an interactive stage display and a series of TV Show like chats between various well put together Microsoft managers and some hands on display of a variety of Windows 8 Devices presented a strong launch with high energy.
The keynote was delivered by Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer. This was my first time seeing him speak live and I cannot describe the passion, energy, humor and winning personality that he brings to the stage.Hearing him talk about the potential for Windows 8 and having tried it myself it’s hard not to see a glowing future for Microsoft.
Several other things stood out: –
- The presentation of Office 2013. I reviewed it earlier this year and if you haven’t downloaded and tried it then you are missing a treat. This is the ultimate productivity tool.
- XBox – Xbox 360 is finally and yes, belatedly officially launching in Israel and this was launched with a visit from Master Chief himself on stage with a backdrop trailer for the pending HALO4.
- The Head of Microsoft Israel gave a presentation that included a tongue-in-cheek video of him and his staff discussing Windows 8 only to be interrupted by Israeli Supermodel Bar Refaeli who had a few pointers and comments vis a vis marketing and features. (sadly this video is not online to share or embed yet).
As you know i have upgraded to Windows 8 and I spoke to several people attending the conference who were happy to discuss with me the hows and whys of upgrading.
Based on what I saw, I’m giving Windows 8 and the various devices a strong buy recommendation.