Windows 8 Coming Real Soon for Education

On August 1st, Microsoft released Windows 8 to manufacturing. Time to talk about the next era of Windows for education.

Microsoft has completed product development for Windows 8 and begun the released to manufacturing (RTM) stage. This is an important milestone because it means that our Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners can now begin finalizing their products for consumers and institutions.

Mark your calendar for Friday, October 26, 2012 for the general availability (GA) release date of Windows 8. That is the date that Windows and new hardware devices will be available at retail channels everywhere.

Also if you are curious about new devices arriving with Windows 8, take a sneak peek at CNET Asia’s coverage of COMPUTEX 2012 in Taiwan. Many of our OEM partners showcased their prototype designs at the PC EXPO.

Upcoming Windows 8 Milestones
There are some important dates for IT organizations to put on their calendars.

  • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
  • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.

Source: Windows Team blog.

Take the Springboard
August 16th will be the most significant date for academic volume licensing customers. At that time, academic institutions with Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to evaluate and plan for Windows 8 with your existing hardware and service portfolio.

I recommend that you go first to the Springboard Series for Windows 8. Springboard has been an ongoing series that helps IT organizations get ready for Windows. The series covers application compatibility, desktop virtualization, licensing activation, networking, hardware/performance compatibility, security and management, and training. At end of this article, there are some direct links to several Springboard resources.

New Apps for Windows 8
Beyond Windows 8 from operating system and device perspective, there is also the need to prepare for modern app development on Windows 8. The Windows Dev Center provides a number of tools, software development kits, and design assets for building native apps for the new Windows 8 experience. Download the Windows 8 Release Preview Product Guide for Developers as a starting point.

Also, if you have a clever educational or academic institution app, please let me know in the comments below. We want to evangelize your new apps on Windows 8 and celebrate with you.

So there are your starting points. Welcome to the next PC era…this time it is truly personal.