This Week in the World of Windows

People are yet to stop talking about the resolutionary, err.. revolutionary consumer preview of Windows 8. But, the folks at Redmond are hard at work and it looks like they have hit yet another homerun with Office 15. It’s pretty evident that the new Metro style is going to be the UI across the board and the newly leaked screenshots of the desktop productivity suite show us why.

Nokia confirmed its tablet plans, Internet Explorer mocked itself for a promo campaign, new version of Thunderbird showed up, Nokia Lumia phones about to get tethering support, SharePoint Online 2013 details emerged and more. Read on for some of this week’s best Windows app news and updates.

Office 15 Screenshots Leaked

Office 15 Technical Preview

Office 15 Technical Preview

Few days ago, Microsoft opened up Office 15 for technical preview allowing only select partners and OEMs to take the app for a spin. A public beta release is expected to happen later this year. Resourceful bloggers of The Verge have got hold of a trove of screenshots of the upcoming version of the productivity suite and to be frank, they look so darn awesome!

Office is Microsoft’s cash cow and has more monopoly over its vertical than Windows itself. After the debut of the ribbon interface about five years ago, Office is getting a complete makeover only now. From the screenshots it’s evident that Office isn’t anymore the boring little Enterprise package that virtually no human being can stop using.

A pretty user interface aside, all popular Office components – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook etc. – are incorporated with a number of cool features. The entire suite is tablet optimized (just like Windows 8) and is expected to play nice with creaky old desktops too!

Nokia Design Chief Confirms Tablet Plans

Last week, we reported the rumor about Nokia’s Windows 8 tablet and how unsurprising the news actually is given the deep relationship the company shares with Microsoft. I wouldn’t like to gloat with a smug I told you so, but Nokia’s Design Chief Marko Ahtisaari in an interview to a Finnish magazine confirmed that about a third of his time dedicated to the design of a tablet. A Nokia spokesperson followed up with a non committal comment we all are now used to from every corporate company:

“We continue to eye the tablet space with interest, but have made no specific announcements”

Well, they aren’t denying anything aren’t they?

Microsoft Pokes Fun at Internet Explorer

Microsoft Pokes Fun at Internet Explorer

Microsoft Pokes Fun at Internet Explorer

I started using Firefox right from the day version 1.0 launched. I liked the tabs, plugins, themes and the cool name. But what got me burn bridges with the IE camp was Microsoft’s lethargy when it came down to fixing the buggy IE 6. To be precise, I hate it so much. I’m not alone and a lot of geeks, nerds, bloggers and the influential elite hate IE and they are very vocal about it.

Trying to turn the hate into its advantage (of sorts), Microsoft kicked off a campaign that uses the hatred toward IE into a fun, new campaign to reach out to the cool, urbane crowd. A funny video featuring a cute cat and some nice infographics indicate that the new campaign is hard to miss, but we will have to wait for sometime to see visible returns.

Thunderbird 11 Arrives

Mozilla Thunderbird 11

Mozilla Thunderbird 11

Following the footsteps of its legendary sibling, Thunderbird is now on a rapid release schedule too. The newly unveiled version 11 has a revamped user interface with a couple of major and a few minor tweaks. The tabs are now at the top of the browser and there is no option to revert back to the old system either. Check out our review of the app here.

Lumia Devices to Get Tethering Soon

Did you know that Nokia Lumia series WP7 phones couldn’t tether the Internet connection? I found that surprising too, but most of the major smartphone platforms (particularly iOS) launched without the ability to tether the wireless Internet connection with other devices. There is no concrete date set for the official update yet.

Nokia Creative Studio App Launched

These days, people don’t like normal, good looking pictures. They use one app or another to apply some tardy filters and effects to make them goofy and pass them around. Not to be left behind, team Nokia has launched one such app dubbed Creative Studio for Lumia phone users. This free app helps users to apply effects to the images, use face warps, create panorama and more. Unfortunately, this app is exclusive to Lumia users.

SharePoint Online 2013 Details Emerge

Close on heels the Office 15 launch, the cloud hosted version of the productivity suite, Office 365 might get a major update too. There is a slew of forthcoming updates, but some of them that might interest the rest of us are improved web apps, support for MS Project and Visio and the Metro interface. Since this is a cloud based app (that cannot be “distributed” freely amongst peers), it might be sometime before we can get actual screenshots.

Share Your Thoughts!

What news from the Windows universe grabbed your attention in the past few days? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments section. Thank you so much for reading!