Bob here.  Windows 8 will be released later this year. Unlike previous editions, you won’t find anywhere near the amount of fanfare and hoopla that Microsoft has generated for operating systems releases (anybody remember Vista?). This will follow the more subdued release of Windows 7, which seems to have worked pretty well by Microsoft standards. Some of us old diehard folks might hate to admit it, but the days of windows XP being the predominant OS for most companies seems to be numbered.

Most people don’t realize that Microsoft plans to release a new version of Windows (Windows 8 ) as well as Office (Office 15) this year. But it shouldn’t be a surprise. Since 2007 or so, Microsoft has followed a plan of releasing major versions of each of their products every four years and an interim release of the product (or an “R2″ version) two years later. Between this scheduling and changes to their licensing programs, Microsoft is trying to get companies to view software purchases as more of an ongoing expenditure, almost a subscription. Program such as Office 365 and Open Value License Subscriptions are simple examples of that trend.

So back to the geek stuff. Some of you may recall that for several months prior to the release of Windows 7, Simplex-IT had several meetings, Lunchinars, and events demonstrating Windows 7 to several hundred people. Well, it’s time for us to turn our attention to Windows 8.

To start with, we decided to first look at the tablet. Without getting too geeky, there are really going to be four versions of Windows 8 from the layperson’s standpoint. The one we’ll see the most is the traditional desktop version. There will also be the server version, the phone version, and finally, the tablet version. To start with, let’s take a look at the tablet version.

We decided to begin our experience with a full-blown Windows 8 tablet device. We selected the Samsung 7000T-1 A. With its Intel dual core I5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of solid-state disk space, this puppy came loaded. Now the MSRP of this tablet is about $1500, so it’s not positioned to compete with any of the Apple products. What it does do, however, is give the full Windows experience.

It took us about an hour and a half to actually load Windows 8 onto this device. It was actually a rather painless experience. Since then we’ve added Office 2010 and other applications without any difficulty.

Hopefully in the next week will be adding some YouTube videos to give a little more specific details on our experiences, opinions and adventures dealing with Windows 8.  So far?  Not bad, not bad at all.

Oh, and our Lunchinar on April 18th will actually be our first live demonstration of Windows 8. Stay tuned for more information on that event coming up soon.