Microsoft's Windows 8: First look, review and more


In this episode of Gadget Guru, we take a look at the all new Windows 8, one of the biggest launches in 2012. Also on the show, a look at the iPad Mini, which was unveiled on October 23.

Here’s the full transcript of the show.

Vikram Chandra: Hello and welcome to a very special edition of Gadget Guru. This is it. We were saying this is going to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, launches of 2012. And we have it here, the first detailed look at Windows 8.

Rajiv Makhni: You can already see the smile on my face. I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been wanting this and today we’re going to do a lot of special things. First, let me introduce our special guest, Sanket Akerkar. He’s the managing director for Microsoft India. So welcome. Lots of questions for him. We have many tech analysts, bloggers, and many people from the street, literally people who are going to be consuming this joining us over satellite and otherwise.

Vikram Chandra: So we have it out there—Windows 8—and you’re going to take everyone through all the features of it. And of course, Rajiv, there’s another reason why I have a smile on my face.

Rajiv Makhni: Why is that?

Vikram Chandra: Now you see that icon out there.

Rajiv Makhni: Oh right. Okay. Absolutely, yes, yes, yes.

Vikram Chandra: That’s one of my favorite babies, probably is my favorite baby - NDTV Play, which we are also launching together with Windows 8. It’s only available on Windows 8 for a certain time, and we’re going to talking all about it as well. But let’s quickly run you through the entire rundown. And from there, let’s quickly skate through some of the gadget and gizmo related new stories of the week.


After months of speculation, Apple finally unveiled the iPad Mini at its much publicized October 23 event. The iPad Mini is 7.9 inches and features a dual-core A5 chip with a 5-megapixel iSight camera and a FaceTime HD front-facing camera. This was, however, just the tip of the iceberg. Besides the Mini, Apple also refreshed its third-gen iPad with powerful hardware, introduced a 13-inch retina display MacBook Pro, and unleashed a stunning new iMac just 5mm in thickness.

Also now that the Windows 8 launch has finally happened, it has brought along with it a bevy of new form factors and devices like the Samsung Windows RT ATIV Tablet and the stunning HP Envy X2. A special report coming up in this episode of Gadget Guru.


Vikram Chandra: All right, Rajiv. Windows 8 and some really nice interesting devices, of course, to play it on with.

Rajiv Makhni: Absolutely. You’ve got a hybrid. I’ve got a swivel. And you know I’ve said from the beginning, when Windows 8 was only a little blip on the radar, that finally innovation in hardware would come driven by some interesting software. So we are there.

Vikram Chandra: We’ll come to devices in a minute. But first, before we come to Sanket and start getting all the other experts in, I think we’ve always maintained that the first three or four minutes are crucial. If something leaps out and grabs you, it’s likely to be a big success.

Rajiv Makhni: Exactly.

Vikram Chandra: And I have to say one thing that of all the Microsoft products that I’ve used, I think since Word, when I first used it about 20 years back…

Rajiv Makhni: Because I have a feeling that you’re going to say something positive and…

Vikram Chandra: I want to say something positive. You know, the first…

Rajiv Makhni: No, no, so I want to set the stage for this. The word positive and Microsoft in the same sentence coming from Vikram is also an iconic moment, so let’s all be ready for it. You can speak now.

Vikram Chandra: It also reflects the fact that I haven’t really liked too many Microsoft products in the last 18 years.

Rajiv Makhni: Here we go. That’s exactly what I’m saying. So…

Vikram Chandra: But, Sanket, I have to say the first three minutes with this, I really, really liked it. I loved the UI (user interface). I loved the interface. I loved the tiles. I loved the sort of functionality you’re getting right up at the front. So yeah, since I used Word 20 years ago, can I shake your hand?

Sanket Akerkar: Absolutely. Fabulous to hear. Thank you.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay. So finally we got something positive. I told you iconic moment No. 2.

Vikram Chandra: Yeah.

Rajiv Makhni: So first, a real first look from us. You’ve just launched Windows 8, a worldwide launch, we’re giving a first look to everybody out here in India. And then we get Vikram to say good things about anything Microsoft. So I’m thrilled. But I also will say the same thing. I think it’s intelligent; it’s intuitive; it’s very quick. A person can get down to the basics very quickly, and then you can keep drilling in if you like and understand what…

Vikram Chandra: Which is not to say that there are no problems with it and so we are going to just talk about problems…

Rajiv Makhni: But first I think we should get everybody to take a look at it.

Vikram Chandra: In just a couple of minutes, but first…

Rajiv Makhni: Yes.

Vikram Chandra: Yeah. I think Rajiv is right. Let’s not just go on talking, let’s give you a detailed look at Windows 8. Here’s what it can do.

First look at Windows 8

Windows 8 is one of the most important OS (operating system) launches in the history of the tech. Not only because it’s a huge gamble from Microsoft, but it may also change the way we look at desktop computing forever.

The biggest change is apparent right from the start. The whole interface is a kind of touch-friendly attitude that wasn’t present in the previous versions. The login screen has now changed to a lock screen that you swipe up to begin your experience. In fact, swiping has become more important than ever here. The four corners of the screen are where all your commands line out: swiping in from the right of the screen gets you the start menu. Swiping from the left is how you multitask between apps. Want to close apps? Just swipe downward from the top of the screen. So upwards from the bottom of the screen gets you more options within that app.

The home screen is no longer the desktop view you have been used to since Windows 95. Instead, we have what Microsoft calls the modern UI. You have on your main screen tonnes of live tiles which share information and constantly update, providing you with a quick glance at all your apps in one place. The home screen is also customizable. You can change the background onto which the tiles rest and you can also change the size of the tiles themselves.

New to Windows 8 are apps; available from the store are tonnes of apps in broad categories that you can download. Services like games, Xbox and Maps are also present here. Another neat feature is the People’s Hub where all your social networking accounts like Twitter and Facebook are synced together in one place to provide you with a place where you can see what all your friends are up to in one single glance.

Mails also get the same treatment with all you’re accounts synced up in one place for easier access. But we do have to point out that when used to the keyboard and mouse; the interface, though, perfectly usable, doesn’t feel as intuitive. Overall, a major update to one of the most prolific OSs and a big gamble by Microsoft that may just pay off.

Vikram Chandra: Okay. Sanket, the good, the bad, and the doubtful, which we need to discuss. The tiles obviously work. The name Modern UI does not work.

Rajiv Makhni: Modern, yeah. The modern part is…

Vikram Chandra: Modern UI does not work. I don’t know why you call it Modern UI, but the tiles differently work. I think this is the sort of an OS that somebody who’s never used computers could figure out how to use in five minutes.

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah.

Vikram Chandra: Or 10 minutes and that’s really a major step. I guess my first big question is: I know how well it works when you can do this right or in some of these devices, you can just pull it off. And on a tablet, it will be absolutely fine. How would it work necessarily with a keyboard? Especially for somebody used to Windows 7 or XP or 95 or whatever, there’s a large install base out there. For them on those machines, how does it work? Will they be able to get the same sense?

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah, they will. So I think the first principle that we’ve done in terms of building Windows 8 is make sure it’s an awesome touch device and that it’s really, really good for mouse and keyboard. So the start screen, which is the first place that you start, is really easy to move with the mouse and keyboard. You can click the apps that you want. You can move left and right. You can pan and zoom left and right. And then you can do all the things that you might want to do inside those apps with the mouse and the keyboard. And then also that really comes to life if you’re really going into content creation right, if you want to type an email or you want to do something, then the mouse and keyboard can become very, very helpful and friendly to the user.

Rajiv Makhni: You know, all over we’ve seen certain reviews, we’ve seen certain reactions, and to many people the reaction seems to be that you’re pandering to too many people. You’re trying to get the tablet generation in, you’re trying to get the touch-screen generation in. In one of your life tiles, you again go back to the classic techie which would be, like we said, people who have large install base you don’t want to alienate them. Aren’t you trying to pander to too many people and many people say these are two OSs tacked together?

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah. I think I would flip it around. I wouldn’t say that it’s for pandering too many people. What we’re trying to do is make sure that we’re being useful to how consumers and users use OS and use the technology. So you want to flip it around and sort of say, hey, as a user, so for me if I just take my example for how I used the devices and the operating system, if I’m on a plane and I want to listen to music or I want to watch a video, I want to put it on my lap and I want to use my finger and do a variety of things. If I get to my desk and I want to do something else, I want to see an Excel spreadsheet or I want to see a PowerPoint, I might want to put that down and have a mouse and keyboard, if I want to write an e-mail I can do it that way. So what enables me to do is have one device that allows me to do all those things.

Rajiv Makhni: But in that what you’re basically saying is that device that is touch and keyboard enabled, but there are going to be devices that are not touch. In fact we are going to take a question from P.K. Roy from CyberMedia who is joining us. He’s going to give us quick analysis and his first question which we were talking off camera is exactly this.

Prasanto K. Roy, editorial Advisor, Cybermedia and analyst: Hi, Sanket, I’ve been using Windows 8 for quite a few months and it’s really great on touch devices like this tablet I’ve been using it on. On the desktop, I found it fairly fiddly and that seems to be also the general consensus. If you don’t have a touch screen, you know, it’s quite a steep learning curve. So what would compel desktop users, in your view, especially those with existing desktops without touch, to migrate to Windows 8?

Sanket Akerkar: So thanks, P.K., for the question. I think the way that I would look at it is our heritage has been from mouse and keyboard and so we’ve obviously optimized the operating system for that. So whether you’re on the start screen and you’re inside the tiles, you can do all the things that you’d want to do with the mouse and keyboard, all the familiar commands and the shortcuts are all still there. And then obviously if you want to go to desktop mode and really interact with the mouse and keyboard, which in many cases is much easier to do as you’re looking at content and really trying to get in the content, we’ve enabled that too. So it’s really about being mouse and keyboard, but also touch first. We’ve tried to optimize for both.

Vikram Chandra: Can I just come in on that and ask you a couple of questions on devices. You know, these days, you know, you got people who have laptops, desktops, tablets, and the phone. Now you’re launching Windows 8 Mobile for the phone also. But not all third-party apps are ready; the SDKs aren’t out there right now. Are all the devices and third-party applications there already which can actually leverage Windows 8? Or have you, in a sense, staggered it too much so people get confused.

Sanket Akerkar: I think it’s a great question. So I think we’re trying to get both of those trains to land at the exact same time, which is today, as we go for global availability of the product. And the two things are there, you can go out today and go to 2,500 retail stores across the country and you’re going to see tonnes of different great devices from tonnes of different hardware manufacturers that will showcase the benefits of Windows 8.

Vikram Chandra: But on Windows 8 on the mobile, for example, with third-party apps not necessarily out there right now, people will essentially be getting a Windows 7 experience on a Windows 8 phone, other than Microsoft phone apps of course.

Sanket Akerkar: So on the phone, for Windows Phone 8, what we will still enable is all the great Windows Phone 7 apps will still also be available. So we’ve got 100 or a 100-plus thousand apps that are on Windows Phone 7, those will be available on Windows Phone 8 and then we’ll certainly make sure that we’re working with the ecosystem to build the Windows Phone 8 apps.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay. I want to come back to this Windows 8, the one that we have here right now. Now your great strength is enterprise, corporates, pretty much have Microsoft all over. But usually a switchover to a new OS is the slowest in a corporate, but you need this to move fast because you’ve taken a huge gamble and a risk out here, you’ve thrown almost everything out of the window and brought in all things new. Will this be even slower…

Vikram Chandra: Pun intended.

Rajiv Makhni: …Even slower on enterprise?

Sanket Akerkar: No.

Vikram Chandra: And a related question on that, if I might ask, is one of pricing, because obviously you want to migrate people, certainly from Windows XP and Windows 95, but also from Windows 7 to this. What is the upgrade path and how will it be priced?

Sanket Akerkar: So on the first one, I think, the key thing is something that you guys have surely talked about, which is consumerization of IT. People want great devices and they want that choice and in many cases they want to bring that to work…

And they want to have that choice, right. So we’re bringing great devices like these set of devices that you’re showing and others that are coming and we want consumers to go buy that. But that’s not the entire story for the enterprise. For the enterprise, there are two other constituents that really have to be happy with what we’re doing. It’s the IT administrator, right?

Rajiv Makhni: Right.

Sanket Akerkar: The person who then has to manage this bevy of devices that is in the enterprise. So we’ve made it easier for them with a whole bunch of different things for security, management virtualization that make it easier for the IT administrator. And then the last group that’s really important is the developers. Now with Windows 8, we’ve created a really, really robust platform to build these awesome applications with great look and feel and touch and also it’s a different thing. So they can bring those enterprise apps into the new world. So we think, all those things—consumers, the IT administrators and developers will be super excited to go out and buy Windows 8 devices.

Rajiv Makhni: Now Amit Agarwal from Labnol is joining us. I think he’s a guy who really knows this whole enterprise business well. So I think he has a comment about that.

Amit Agarwal, Labnol: How do you plan to bring new users or even existing users of Windows up to speed to the new UI of Windows 8?

Sanket Akerkar: So a couple things for that, right. No. 1, we have a great offer right now for folks who have bought Windows 7 and want to upgrade to Windows 8. You can go out and do that for Rs 699. So that’s an awesome thing for consumers to take advantage of. The second…

Rajiv Makhni: That’s almost $11-12, right?

Vikram Chandra: Yeah, it’s not that bad.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay.

Sanket Akerkar: And the second thing is what was…

Vikram Chandra: But that’s Windows 7, it’s not Windows XP or Windows 95. Those guys will probably have to buy a new device entirely?

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah. So if you bought Windows 7, you can upgrade to Windows 8 that way.

Vikram Chandra: Okay.

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah. And then the second thing is over the last years since we’ve talked about Windows 8, we’ve seen over 16 million downloads for Windows 8 and all the versions around the world. So there’s tons of excitement out there for people wanting to take advantage of Windows 8.

Vikram Chandra: You know, just one other question and again on the downside of this. See, there are certain things that Microsoft does well and certain things Microsoft doesn’t necessarily do that well. Are you trying to plug in Windows 8 some products of yours that may not be necessarily that successful, I’m talking about Bing in particular. You’ve got a tile out there for search which uses Bing; lot of people might prefer to use Google. So isn’t it simple enough to use Google as a search instead?

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah. So if you want, I mean, first of all, we want to make sure that we bring a great experience to the consumers. So we built a couple of apps to showcase that and obviously Bing is a product and a service that we own, so we can make sure that people have a great experience on that on the desktop.

Rajiv Makhni: So I think your answer is why would people want to do that?

Sanket Akerkar: No, no, but-- but--

Vikram Chandra: Because it’s-- you know.

Sanket Akerkar: --but if people also wanted to choose to use all those of services those are all there too, right. So if you want to go to Google or if you want to use a Gmail account or if you want to hook up to different services, that’s all there as well.

Vikram Chandra: Okay. I have another reason why everyone would want to want Windows 8 and I’m going to that in just two or three minutes. There’s another killer feature.

Rajiv Makhni: And he has an ace up his sleeve. He has a good play up his sleeve in fact. All right. So one more person joining us, Rajat Agarwal. His domain is basically the mobiles. Let’s find out what he has to say.

Rajat Agarwal, executive editor, BGR India: Hi, Sanket. How do you tell consumers the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT considering the form factors and the look and feel of devices as well as the home screen is similar?

Sanket Akerkar: So let me see if I can simplify the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 for x86 machines. Windows RT simply is for machines that are really lightweight and that have a long battery life. And so that’s how you can think about them. For the other machines, the Windows 8 machines that are based on x86, you’re going to see lots of different devices, different form factors and you’re going see really, really powerful machines that can do lots of different things. That’s the simplest way to think about those two groups.

Rajiv Makhni: Do you lose out on anything at all with RT?

Sanket Akerkar: With RT, the key thing that you lose that’s different is your ability to run legacy applications.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay. All right.

Sanket Akerkar: So that’s the key difference.

Vikram Chandra: I mean, ideally speaking it would be great if you would had your own RT device so that something like Surface out right now at this time, this launch, I guess you couldn’t match all the calendars.

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah, unfortunately, we’re not talking about when we’re going to come out with Surface but yeah, we’re very excited about Surface as well.

Vikram Chandra: We want to wait for that. So, of course, Sanket, it would have been great that here in India if we’ve also had Surface devices that were available right now. That launch, I guess, will take some time?

Sanket Akerkar: It will take some time. We’re launching in the U.S. and will take some time to come to India.

Vikram Chandra: All right. Fine.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay. We’ve got the review in, we’ve got all the analyst in. Now, the stage, Mr. Chandra, is all yours; whatever you’re going to do with it, roll up those sleeves.

Vikram Chandra: Thank you so much.

Rajiv Makhni: Roll up those sleeves.

Vikram Chandra: My sleeves are already rolled up. So this it, ladies and gentlemen, this is another thing which we can in a sense officially launch right now. We’ve been working on NDTV Play for a long time. We have timed this launch to coincide with the launch of Windows 8 and here it is, our first real working prototype. It’s essentially a new way that you can watch video as people might know. We’re already streaming something like 2 billion minutes of video. This, we think, is going to change the way people watch television and experience video. So you’ve got a playlist, which you can build. All of NDTV stories are available here in some form or the other; there’s recommended tiles; you can watch the channels live. Here are the most popular videos that people are watching. Then specific categories that you can go into and dive into--

Rajiv Makhni: And I love the way the playlist, very intelligently. You’re praising it; you’re biased because, you’ve been closely involved. I have credibility, so I can say this is a really smart app.

Vikram Chandra: I think it’s the first time he’s paid me a compliment in five years so--

Rajiv Makhni: No, I actually paid the app a compliment but, you know, it’s actually smart. It’s very intuitive and I love the way the playlist populates on its own.

Vikram Chandra: And here’s what I think is one of the best features, which really takes advantage of what Windows 8 can itself do. Let’s say you’re watching this particular video, but you also want to work on some mail or you want to do something else, you can take advantage of the snap feature; you just bring it down, put it to the side, it resizes automatically. Keep watching the video out here.

Rajiv Makhni: It not just resizes it, but becomes smart for the amount of real estate it has, and reconfigures its settings, the look and feel. I find that very interesting.

Vikram Chandra: Absolutely. Here you now have a situation where you could be watching the video in this little corner and you could be working on your e-mail out here. If you think e-mail can be smaller, you can always, of course, just swap them. So let’s just take you through all the features of NDTV Play, launched now to coincide with Windows 8.




This week on Apps, a special look at one of our homegrown apps  ΜΆ  the NDTV Play app, which will be available exclusively in the Windows 8 store at launch. The first thing you notice about NDTV Play is the interface. Built upon the principles of the Modern UI, it’s smooth to operate and easy to get to what you want within a few simple swipes. From the home screen, you can quickly choose a video to play, and when you go back, the video you are playing doesn’t just stop. It shrinks down in size and continues playing in the bottom right of the screen. And you’re free to look at whatever you want to play next. Everything is arranged neatly in categories where you can also search to get to the show you want to quickly. It also supports the snap view in Windows 8 where you can watch your favorite NDTV video while doing something else. You can also create a playlist of the videos that you want to watch in one go. But the most special thing about the app is access to almost all of NDTV’s content from the get-go. You can live stream news and watch episodes of shows that you may have missed. Overall, a nice app that has a bevy of interesting features.

Vikram Chandra: So, Sanket, there you have it. Within minutes you can see this entire show on plane. You have something to demo now in your stores.

Sanket Akerkar: Excellent. Excellent.

Vikram Chandra: An app built for Windows 8.

Sanket Akerkar: I’m looking forward to it.




Vikram Chandra: Can I just say that I really like Windows 8, if you’re thinking of finally giving me a present at some point?

Rajiv Makhni: Yes, I think it’s fairly obvious. Sanket, have you noticed?

Vikram Chandra: It’s a tablet, which you just snap inside and hey presto, it’s now a notebook.

Rajiv Makhni: The way I say it, it’s an Ultrabook where you actually can take the screen out. But, you know, he’ll obviously always have a different description. And how much does he like it, have you noticed? Have you got to play with it for even a minute today?

Sanket Akerkar: No. And I’m not sure he’s giving it back.

Rajiv Makhni: Neither do I. Neither do I. So while he extends his personal relationship with that (Windows 8), I will also talk to you about this particular one (Windows RT) which I think is great. If you wanted all, of course, this is not as light as that one, just swivel this around, close it down and you’ve got a tablet in your hand.

Vikram Chandra: But what’s the point? It’s a really heavy tablet.

Rajiv Makhni: No, it has better battery life and you don’t have to then think where did you leave the keyboard, you know, for people who are forgetful like you. You’ll always be like where’s my phone, now where’s my keyboard. Imagine that’s--

Vikram Chandra: The only question about this, I guess, is battery life. You know, it’s something like three hours in the tablet which is a real pain. So, you know, maybe I wouldn’t hug it that fondly because the battery life would drive me mad at some point.

Rajiv Makhni: But how do you justify that? Before we actually go into a review of all these things you did say RT is for long battery life. And these are not really made for that, right? Is that how you really break it up?

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah, I think that--

Vikram Chandra: And what would be the performance of RT with running Windows 8; I mean, are you sure it’s not going to slow these things down to a crawl?

Sanket Akerkar: No. So I think RT based on the ARM chipset will be able to provide really, really long battery life. It will be truly ultra-portable and will run Windows 8 brilliantly.

Rajiv Makhni: So can you define really, really long battery life because in the world of technology, it can mean anything from 59 minutes to about 12 hours because, you know, companies have different ways of saying really long battery life.

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah. So I think we’re seeing devices that are going to be 10-plus hours in terms of battery life.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay. Okay. Excellent.

Vikram Chandra: But, you know, coming back to performance, I mean, let’s face it. Windows 8, you will hack and Windows has always been accused of having bloated too much code in it, partly because of the legacy factor. You’re going to have some of that in Windows 8. So when you start running something like Windows 8 on a RT tablet, there’s a concern that it’ll take you six hours to do anything with it.

Rajiv Makhni: No, no. But that’s exactly what isn’t going to happen with RT. It will not run anything that’s legacy. It’s completely new code. It will give you the Windows--

Vikram Chandra: So it will not run anything legacy at all. That’s the point I am trying to establish.

Sanket Akerkar: No legacy apps. Right. That’s right.

Vikram Chandra: So what happens then? What if somebody’s going out and bought a whole bunch of the brand-new stuff?

Rajiv Makhni: Then you buy this one.

Sanket Akerkar: Then you can buy an x86 based tablet.

Vikram Chandra: So if you want to run legacy, you buy this; and if you want just new Windows 8, long battery life, sleek, you buy RT.

Sanket Akerkar: That’s right. That’s the new position--

Rajiv Makhni: So the learning is that anybody that wants legacy will get three to four hours battery life and anybody who is new generation will get 10 to 12.

Vikram Chandra: Is that a fair way of putting it?

Sanket Akerkar: Well, I think there’s a lot of Ultrabooks, too, that are coming out that also have great battery life. You probably won’t get the 10-plus hours, but we’ve seen machines get five, six.

Rajiv Makhni: Yes, I think in a hybrid, we can't expect too much.

Sanket Akerkar: Right.

Rajiv Makhni: But in just Ultrabooks that are touch-enabled, you might just get some good.

Vikram Chandra: So let’s quickly scan through some of the devices that are already available that will take advantage of Windows 8. And frankly we can expect a lot more coming out in the near future.




Now that we’ve looked at Windows 8 in some detail, you may ask yourself the question that a OS is only as good as the machine it runs on. So for those wondering what some of the machines from the OEMs are, here are some of the interesting form factors made possible by the convergence of touch and desktop technology.

We start first with the form factor that Microsoft is just exploring now with Windows 8, the tablet. And here we have one from Samsung. Sleek and elegant and like many of its products, a simple design that is usable and feels nice in the hands. There’s also some serious horsepower under the hood here. Running Windows RT, it has a dual-core 1.5GHz CPU with a Adreno 305 GPU and is available in 32 or 64GB storage with a micro SD card slot for further expansion up to 64GB. There’s a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera. So overall, this is an interesting first look at one of the first tablets out on the block.

Next we move on to our first hybrid, the ASUS Vivo Windows RT tablet/Notebook hybrid. It has a vibrant 10.1-inch Super IPS plus display with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels and has a sleek 8.3mm body. The design is also unique with a call back to the mighty Transformer Prime. And like the Prime, this one also has a Tegra 3 quad-core beast waiting to be unleashed. It comes with 32GB of internal memory. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera along with 2-megapixel secondary front camera. Of course, the big USP here is it can detach itself from its keyboard casing and be used as a tablet.

Now here’s another interesting form factor, the slide up. And what exactly do we mean by that. Heard of phones with slide-out keyboards? Well how about a tablet that does exactly the same thing. And that is the Sony Vaio S with a sturdy hinge design that helps you slide out a keyboard when you need it. It has Ultrabook guts inside which helps with specs like a Core i5 or an i7 CPU, 128GB of SSD, 10 ATP IPS display, gorilla glass and much more. Expect to get a fully featured Ultrabook with a tablet, elevate with a little bit of extra weight for this baby.

Now this beauty with a beautiful 11-inch IPS display is another hybrid device with a detachable screen that can be used as a tablet on its own. It sports an Intel x86 processor and runs the full version of Windows 8. It has Beats Audio and an 8-megapixel rear camera. The biggest thing we can say about this device is the fact that it feels like a high-quality premium Ultrabook in your hands. And the design is just stunning.

Now another device with a unique USP--the Dell with its swiveling screen that can be turned around and made to rest on top of the keyboard base and be turned into a tablet. And when you turn the other way around, it’s an Ultrabook. Its runs a full spec version of Windows 8 along with Core i7 processor, a 256GB 2 SSD and a 12.5-inch screen.

Vikram Chandra: Okay. Rajiv, now a lot of people have questions. They’re just starting to see the first glimpses of what Windows 8 is about. But a lot of people have questions out there. Let’s just take some of them from all of you out there and throw them to Sanket.

Question 1: Will the Windows RT work with existing version of Windows?

Question 2: I just wanted to ask, what is Microsoft doing for developing the local Indian apps for Windows 8?

Rajiv Makhni: So local apps, I guess that’s a big one, right. I mean every company will throw out these 100,000 or 150,000 numbers in those terms of apps and then we say India content and suddenly it’s a blank. Are you doing any better?

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah. We’re focusing a lot on great local apps. As Vikram showed, we have a great NDTV app, which is wonderful. We’ve done a great banking app with ICICI. Well, if you love movies, we’ve got an app with PVR Cinemas. If you love music, we’ve got an app with Flyte as well as with Gaana. If you like travel, we’ve got an app with MakeMyTrip. So we’ve got tons and tons of really great local apps for people who want to do things, obviously, in India.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay. And one other guy was asking about the fact that his IT area in his company is very scared because he wants to take in new devices, which may not be accepted by the entire corporate and the enterprise.

Sanket Akerkar: Yeah.

Rajiv Makhni: What about when he takes a Windows RT Surface or any RT device, is that going to be working straight out of the block?

Sanket Akerkar: So there’s going to be a few things that the administrators for those companies will have to do to get the Windows RT devices. But essentially, all the great things for Windows in terms of security and manageability will still be there. So we want to make sure it’s easy for people to bring RT devices to work.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay.

Vikram Chandra: Okay. Sanket, now before we allow you to go, can I have a final, perhaps cruel question? Microsoft has now had a period where it’s not been seen as an innovator; other companies are seen as far sexier, far hotter, whether it’s Google or Apple or whatever. Do you think this can revive the fortunes?

Sanket Akerkar: Absolutely, I think. We’ve got some great feedback from consumers; we’ve got great feedback from enthusiasts in terms of what we got for Windows 8 and we’re really, really excited. I encourage everyone out there to go out today to a retail store near you and go try it out and see what you think about Windows 8.

Rajiv Makhni: Okay.

Vikram Chandra: All right. Go to try it out.

Rajiv Makhni: No, I actually do agree on one thing. It is innovative; it’s a breath of fresh air; it’s something new and once something like this happens, the competition has to catch up and that is always good for consumers.

Vikram Chandra: For consumers, there’s nothing like competition. If somebody has a free ride irrespective of who they are, they always get complacent, they always mess up.

Rajiv Makhni: True.

Vikram Chandra: So the more exciting things that are happening, the more great it is for the rest of us. And it’s wonderful for a program that calls itself Gadget Guru.

Rajiv Makhni: Absolutely.

Vikram Chandra: Absolutely. And that’s all we have on this week’s episode. We’ll be back again next week, same time, same place.

(This episode of Gadget Guru aired on October 27, 2012)


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