As many of you may know, the Microsoft Surface was announced on Monday. It is, to my knowledge, the first pure Microsoft product. It was developed entirely in-house, taking into account the interplay between hardware and software. It is very Apple-ish, and certainly unusual for a company that has traditionally sold only its operating system and allowing the tactile product development to someone else. This probably does not sit well with Microsoft’s licensees, and Apple undoubtedly knows its a target. Surface will come in two flavors: one running WinRT and geared for ARM processors, and a second running Windows 8 Pro meant to compete with the ultrabook market (Yup, that means x86 chips).
All of that’s well and good. But to make things more interesting, Redmond hosted the Windows Phone Developer Summit today. They announced Windows Phone 8 and a slew of very cool details. There’s a new start screen, Skype integration, and official use of Nokia maps in place of Bing’s. The morsel that’s most tantalizing is the shared code between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. According to Microsoft’s announcement, Windows Phone and Windows 8 will share C and C++ libraries and even DirectX support!
DirectX support is really, really important. It’s been around forever and is a very mature graphics driver. If they can leverage it in tandem with some dedicate graphics chipsets from either nVidia or AMD, we’ve got a recipe for some serious performance in the gaming sector.
So, as you can see, a busy week for Microsoft. I must say I’m excited.