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Windows 8 Launch Event Live Blog: Everything You Need To Know

Windows 8 has arrived and Aussies are among the first to get their hands on it thanks to the way this Earth of ours rotates around the Sun. We’ve just sat front-and-centre at the Windows 8 Launch Event in Sydney, and have all the Windows 8 info you need to know.

The official Windows 8 launch event kicks off at 9:30am AEDT on 26 October, 2012. Bookmark this for all the pricing and launch information as it happens tomorrow morning.

More:

Windows 8 Review
Microsoft Surface RT Review
Gerry Harvey To Sell The First Copy Of Windows 8
Windows 8 Launches In Australia
Why Windows 8 Is Make Or Break For Harvey Norman
Windows 8: Lifehacker’s Complete Guide

As It Happened…

[9:10] We have arrived, and Microsoft has gone all out to make the Hordern Pavillion its new new home. Indie pop music is blaring, the atmosphere is hot and journos are steadily arriving.



[9:31 Luke]: We’re in our seats and as each song finishes, we’re wondering if we’ll hear someone speak. This copy of Death Cab For Cutie‘s new album sure is getting a work out. We’re getting underway soon.

[9:32 Angus] I’m told around 130 journalists were invited. The room seems quite full. Dan Ilic is also here somewhere, minor celeb hunters.

[9:33 Angus] I think the ideal way for this to start would be with Gerry Harvey streaking.

[9:34 Luke] For all you minor celeb spotters: I hear The Project‘s Angus Kidman is in the building too…

[9:35 Angus] Lights go down, the inevitable video with Metro-style graphics begins. Sorry, I mean Modern.

Meet The New Windows

[9:36 Angus] “Meet the new Windows.” Actually, we’ve been shacked up together for quite a while now. I won’t tell if you don’t.

[0:36 Angus] Rick Kelly, Jessica Watson. The minor celeb theme continues.

[9:36 Luke] Obligatory Jessica Watson appearance in the Microsoft video. Is she a Microsoft employee yet?

[9:37 Angus] A dancing dude is on stage, pretending to control Metro.

[9:38 Luke] It’s Metro-nority Report up in here!

[9:38 Angus] And the dancing is done. Here comes Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia’s MD.

[9:39 Angus] Pip Marlow discussing the challenges of life as a working mum. She probably gets on planes more than your mum though. “Windows 8 helps me personally manage a pretty wild and crazy life.”

[9:40 Angus] Pip was up at midnight at the Harvey Norman launch, then the 3am New York event. Mind you, Luke’s night was a bit like that too.

[9:40 Angus] Now she’s talking through Harvey Norman. Read Luke’s two excellent stories on this if you haven’t already.

[9:40 Angus] Now Pip is talking through at-a-glance notifications on the Windows 8 lockscreen.

[9:42 Angus] Now demonstrating Picture Password.

[9:43 Angus] Repeating the claim that Windows 8 is designed for every input, but that it makes touch a “first class citizen”. I don’t dispute the second claim.

[9:43 Luke] Needless to say, this live blog is brought to you by caffeine, and the letter zzzzzzz.

[9:44 Angus] Now Tile Personalisation 101. I hope Dan Ilic is learning something here.

9:45 The Windows 8 dancer. He’s got the moves.

[9:45 Angus] Showing off news sites in IE. Let’s pretend we didn’t see the headline with the words “incest dad”.

[9:46 Angus] Still more hot live tiles action. And now we’re talking gaming.

[9:46 Angus] Game of choice for the demo? Fruit Ninja with full multi-touch.

[9:49 Luke] Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia’s managing director.

[9:47 Angus] Showing off a Westpac Windows 8 app. The last Westpac app demo I saw was a total debacle, let’s hope this goes better.

[9:48 Luke] Pip is showing off a dummy account with over $8 million on it. DO WANT.

[9:48 Angus] Must include the value of her options.

[9:48 Angus] Westpac app has a nice option where you can have a customisable gauge for your account on the start screen — means you can see Empty to Full without everyone seeing the exact amount you have.

[9:50 Angus] While I’m watching Pip move fake money around, Luke is taking photos. I trust no-one will try and use the fake credit card numbers.

[9:51 Angus] Pip leaves the stage for more product demos. I like the Start screen, but it would be good to see some other stuff.

[9:53 Luke] The new, Modern UI-ified Westpac Personal Banking app for Windows 8. We chose not to upload the photo that had Pip’s credit card number on it. Secure!

[9:52 Angus] Deeps De Silva is showing off live tiles. Again.

[9:54 Angus] Gotta say, this demo isn’t going to help with the perception that Windows 8 doesn’t make much sense if you don’t have a touch screen.

[9:55 Angus] Now we’re seeing the Arsenal app and more Charms integration. I must remember this is shockingly new to all the non-geeks in the room.

[9:56 Angus] Key Aussie Windows 8 apps being shown: Westpac, SBS On Demand, MetroTwit, AllTheDeals, DodoGoGo, Take4U, and techAU (run by friend of Giz and Lifehacker contributor Jason Cartwright).

[9:57 Angus] Dragging groups on the start screen. As we told you some months ago, you can only do this in zoomed-out mode.

[10:00 Luke] Here’s Microsoft Australia’s head of Windows. This is a photo of his niece. Everyone seems to be very family-proud at Microsoft. I’m waiting for someone to get up with something NSFW on there.

[9:58 Angus] Working through the People app. And we’re seeing more photos of Gerry Harvey. I think I have Gerry overload.

[10:00 Luke] I still want to see Gerry Harvey streak across the stage. Maybe that’s the coffee talking.

[10:01 Angus] Let’s just call it lack of sleep and move on.

[10:02 Angus] “What I really like about the Windows Store is that it remembers all the apps I’ve downloaded.” It would be shocking if it didn’t!

[10:02 Angus] Guy Sebastian name drop. This may be a hint that he will be singing at us shortly. (I’ve seen Rogue Traders and Bardot at previous Windows launches.)

[10:03 Luke] Bring back Bardot, I say.

Entertainment

[10:03 Angus] Xbox Music demo. More Guy Sebastian. Friend of Lifehacker Anthony Caruana observes: “Given the taste in music, the album name Armageddon seems appropriate.”

[10:04 Angus] Windows 8 is a “no compromise” experience. I should have had that one on a buzzword bingo card.

[10:05 Angus] We have just seen the desktop for the first time this demo. “This is a familiar interface.” No mention of the missing Start button of course.

[10:06 Angus] Followed promptly by a Snap demo, so we can have even more Guy Sebastian. I hope he’s busy installing Windows 8 right now.

[10:06 Luke] We’re hearing about Pip Marlow’s love of Guy Sebastian. Currently shopping on eBay to see if we can buy a Guy Sebastian of our own.

[10:07 Angus] Now we’re back on gaming, looking at Jetpack Joyride. “What’s great about Xbox games on Windows 8 is that it tracks your achievement points.” I think Kotaku readers may need a stronger sell than that.

[10:07 Angus] Demonstrating movies by watching Battleship. The idea anyone would watch that strains credulity, does it not?

[10:08 Angus] This is more like it: a proper SmartGlass demo. We’re going to see content resumed from a Windows 8 device onto the Xbox 360.

[10:09 Angus] But that’s it! I’d have showed off SmartGlass a lot more. Pip Marlow has returned.

[10:09 Angus] “Where to from here?” Time for buzzwords.

[10:08 Angus] Connectedness. Fast. Fluid. Vegemite. Fun. (OK, I made one of those up.)

[10:98 Angus] Tina Flemmer, head of the Windows division, will take questions. Actual information may now emerge.

[10:15 Luke] Demonstration of Xbox SmartGlass working… Here we see Battleship go from the Marketplace, to the Windows 8 device, up to the Xbox 360 via SmartGlass.


Q&A

[10:10 Angus] First question: Why no start button?

[10:11 Angus] “Windows 8 was designed to be intuitive. With a swipe or a click, I’m going from my desktop to my Start screen. It is intuitive.” Bit of a non-answer. “It is different. Every time we buy a new device, there is a point of familiarity we go through.”

[10:10 Angus] Next question: an early criticism is the lack of Metro apps. Can we expect more in the next few days?

[10:11 Angus] Pip: “There are millions of Windows applications . . . We’ve got an incredible developer ecosystem” including 30,000 in Asia-Pacific. But no specific app numbers.

[10:11 Angus] How will you eliminate confusion between RT and Windows 8?

[10:11 Angus] So Tina talks through the versions. “RT is designed for thin and lights and for impressive battery life.”

[10:12 Angus] Next question: how are you explaining this to retailers?

[10:12 Angus] Which leads to more talk about RT.

[10:13 Angus] Alex (the other Kidman) asks what Microsoft is doing to explain these differences.

[10:14 Angus] Pip doesn’t answer the question, again.

[10:15 Luke] This is a masterclass in ducking and weaving. Microsoft won’t answer the question about full version pricing.

[10:15 Angus] I’ve asked for prices outside what we already know.

[10:16 Angus] And I’m being told the prices we already have are all we get. Microsoft will not quote a price for a fresh Windows 8 install. Which seems massively stupid.

[10:16 Luke] That’s really poor. Full version pricing is a question that needs to be answered. Needless to say, we’ll be harassing Microsoft to no end to get it for you.

[10:18 Angus] And now we’re wrapping up. Time for a video of the Windows 8 ambassadors.

[10:19 Luke] Those “ambassadors” include jewelry designers, V8 supercar drivers and Jessica Watson. I’d like to hear from them the prices.

[10:19 Angus] And now the event pretty much ends, as we’re led into the “Experience Zone”.

[10:20 Luke] CONFIRMED: There is a Surface RT here.

[10:27 Angus] So we’re done. Most of the demo was predictable; I’m still stunned by the “upgrades only” pricing policy. Still can’t make sense of that.

[10:30 Angus] We’re going to head out now and check out the devices on the show floor…

New Hardware

[10:35 Luke] We’re now looking around Microsoft’s Windows 8 Experience Zone. All the brand ambassadors are here, including Jessica Watson who is using a Dell XPS Duo 12. The Surface RT is around here somewhere, we’ll find it and bring you our hands on impressions later on in the day.

[10:34 Luke] That’s all she wrote from this stage, folks. We’re heading into the Experience Zone right now. Check out the photos of all the shiny Microsoft hid from us that whole presentation. I still think it’s disappointing that Microsoft won’t let people buy a full version of the software off the shelf today. That’s sucks especially for people like me who want to upgrade from the Consumer Preview in a virtual machine. Alas, we’ll have to wait.

[10:34 Luke] In the meantime, we’re about to go hands-on with a Surface RT. We’ll bring you our first Australian impressions as soon as we have them.


[10:40 Luke] Until then, thanks for joining us! Make sure to check out all the photos from this event and let us know what you think of Microsoft’s new offerings in the comments…


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