Everybody wants to hear from Nick Parker, head of Microsoft's OEM division. That's because he has the inside scoop on what Windows-based devices from leading manufacturers are coming down the pike, from smartphones and tablets to PCs and servers.
Parker gave the audience an earful during his keynote address this week at the giant Computex electronics trade show in Taipei, Taiwan. He spoke of the growing opportunity for partners to bet their business on Windows by building devices, services and apps.
"We want to be the best partner to all hardware manufacturers, from the way we engage and invest on new product designs to the experience we jointly deliver to customers," Parker said. "This new wave of Windows devices from our partners, combined with our software, apps and services, reflects that commitment."
Small Tablets Get Office 2013
Beyond the promises, Parker showed off some head-turning devices, including new 7-inch and 8-inch Windows 8 tablets: the Acer Iconia W3 that launched Monday in Taipei, and three other small tablets from partners that are expected to ship for the holiday season.
And here's the bigger news: These small tablets will come equipped with Office Home & Student 2013.
Roger Entner, a wireless analyst at Recon Analytics, said including Office 2013 is a smart move because it immediately turns the device into a productivity tool for businesses.
"Finally, Microsoft is figuring it out. Tablets is a very, very competitive segment. Just showing up, even if you are Microsoft, doesn't guarantee you success," Entner said. "By integrating Office into the tablet, you are elevating it and making it a much more comprehensive and intuitive offer. Businesses will love it."
Windows 8.1 News
Tami Reller, chief financial officer and chief marketing officer of Microsoft's Windows Division, joined Parker onstage to discuss how the company was building on Windows 8 with the coming update to Windows 8.1.
"Windows 8.1 furthers the bold vision of Windows 8 by responding to customer feedback and adding new features and functionality that advance the touch experience and mobile computing's potential," Reller said.
Reller was joined onstage by Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president of Windows Program Management, who shared the first public demo of Windows 8.1, highlighting enhancements in key areas such as personalization, search, the apps and Windows Store experience, cloud connectivity, and the new Internet Explorer 11.
Reller also announced that Outlook 2013 RT will be available on Windows-based ARM tablets with the Windows 8.1 update later this year: "Windows on ARM is a core part of our strategy today and moving forward, and the addition of Outlook further enriches this world of new on-the-go opportunities for partners and customers."