Brian & Gabe LIVE #25 - Part 2: Rodney Medina gives his thoughts on Windows RT

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Brian Madden: Okay, so let’s, let’s talk about that.  And, and the voice you’re hearing is Rodney Medina, CTO of Immidio, joining us from Amsterdam.  And also we’ve got Gabe in Omaha and Jack and me, Brian Madden, in San Francisco.

Jack Madden: Sure do.

Brian Madden: And incidentally, in the chat room, Flippy the Clown, who is actually a known person on our site, asked about the recent Sky Drive upgrade.  Google Drive, DropBox real competition.  I’m feeling like that’s a conversation for Jack for your show on Thursday.

Jack Madden: Yeah, yeah.  Well, the, the answer is I, I haven’t taken too close of a look at either one.  I’m waiting to see will – The question seems to be will it be a replacement for DropBox?  And the answer is possibly, if it does that completely effortless, that completely effortless integration that DropBox does for me.

Brian Madden: And so your show, give yourself a plug.  It’s Consumerization Nation.

Jack Madden: So that’s Consumerization Nation, episode number two.  Thursday at 10:00 Pacific, 1:00 Eastern time.  Colin Steele is my co-conspirator on the show, and we’re gonna do pretty much all the same things that we do on this show except with the consumerization stuff that we, that we never seem to get to.

Brian Madden: Yeah.

Jack Madden: We have a, we have a, we have a lot to, we have a lot to talk about this week.  A blog post that I wrote yesterday inspired not one but two other blog posts.

Brian Madden: Oh, you mean other in the world, like where people like –

Jack Madden: Like other people in the world –

Brian Madden: Blogged on you?

Jack Madden: Yeah, yeah.

Brian Madden: And what, where they like, “Who the fuck is this idiot?”

Jack Madden: Yeah, yeah.  It was, it was fun.

Brian Madden: Man, if you can’t get a Wikipedia page now – Okay, so we were talking about Windows RT.  So I guess some of the news that came out this past, since we did the last show was that the Windows on ARM, affectionately known as WOA, the official name for that is gonna be called Windows RT.  Which is –

Gabe Knuth: What does that mean?

Brian Madden: Well, right.  So this is weird to begin with because a) they announced that Windows 8 will be called Windows 8.  Windows 8 server will be called, you know, Server 2012.  Windows 8 will have, there will be Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.  So all those sort of branding around Windows 8.

But then Windows 8 on ARM doesn’t have the number 8 in it.  It’s just called Windows RT, which is weird because RT usually has in, in computer world means real time.  But Windows 8 on ARM is not – Like a real time OS and a solid-state OS is not the same thing.

Gabe Knuth: Right.

Brian Madden: So it’s not, it’s not a real-time OS.  So you were at MMS.  Did they say what the hell RT stands for?  I’m pointing to Jack here, for those of you listening.

Jack Madden: No, no, they didn’t.  And, but I, but I’m wondering, so is – A Metro on – Like the, whether, whether it’s Metro or not is not a part of this naming conversation.  Because I was wondering what, what Metro on Intel or what Metro on x86 is called.

Brian Madden: Oh, that’s good.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re right.  So – Oh, isn’t that weird?

Jack Madden: Mm-hm.

Brian Madden: That’s – Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point.  So those listening, we talked about in the past, so you know, Windows – So they’re writing a version of Windows for the ARM processor based tablets, which is gonna be more lower-power kinda like almost more like IOS devices.  So that – But that’s, that’s just Windows on ARM.  But then there were also the x86 tablets that run the real air-quote “Windows 8.”

Jack Madden: Well, and Windows.  Right.

Brian Madden: But is that –

Jack Madden: And we also have the traditional UI as well.  Like we saw – Benny, Benny Tritsch had one a few weeks ago when he was here in San Francisco.

Brian Madden: And Benny Tritsch is the biggest – As much as there are Microsoft lovers on this planet, Benny Tritsch is counted among their ranks.  And even he was like, we’re starting it and it’s waiting, you know, like he turned the tablet sideways, and like 15 seconds later it’s like the screen changes.

Jack Madden: Well, so that was like a 13-inch tablet, and it was crazy because it was so big.  So maybe it was just because it was so big.

Gabe Knuth: I played with one.

Brian Madden: Yeah?

Gabe Knuth: Last week.  I had seen – Dell was a sponsor of the events that I was at, and they had brought a Dell tablet, an Intel Dell tablet with Windows 8 running on it.  And yeah, I mean, you know, it was like using my Kindle.  My Kindle Fire, right, where you swipe and then it kinda gets there eventually, and then you try to do the things, and it’s not very fluid.  And I mean, you could just tell it was kinda hacked onto the device itself.

So I’m sure that’s what Benny was using.  He wasn’t actually using an HCL-certified Windows 8 tablet, was he?

Brian Madden: No, you’re right, and it – But what’s funny, though –

Gabe Knuth: Yeah.

Brian Madden: Is so all the existing tablets, they do, they don’t do multi-touch.  So you’re touching it, but it’s only tracking one finger point at a time.  So it’s kinda like this weird – Like you don’t have the precision of a mouse because you’re using your, like, stupid fat finger.  But you also don’t have the luxury of multiple fingers.  

Gabe Knuth: Right.

Brian Madden: So like what makes using your fingers nice is that you can use multiple fingers.  But there’s no – I mean, a lot of – And even actually the most recent Windows 7 multi-touch – So Windows 7 supports quote-unquote “multi-touch,” but it only tracks two fingers.  And so existing Mac users or existing – Well, even Android IOS tablet users, you know, or like put these, you know, put, start putting their fingers on the screen and playing with it, and like –

Gabe Knuth: So no, no, no, no, that’s too many.

Brian Madden: You put 10 fingers on the screen, it picks two that it’s tracking.  And so which two it picks – 

But to the, to the point, though.  So we know that Windows – All right, so remember that Windows RT, of course, will have – It’s, it’s all Metro, but then there still is, we discussed a few weeks ago, that desktop mode it can flip into to run Office 15 and – Is it Office 15, 14?  15?

Jack Madden: 15.

Brian Madden: I don’t even know anymore.

Rodney Medina: 16.

Brian Madden: Yeah, so it – It can run Office, it can run these things like in desktop mode.  But the question is gonna be, so if it’s running real Office recompiled for ARM, we know that Windows Metro apps will not allow plug-ins and drivers and stuff like that.  But we don’t know what the desktop side.  So the question to you, Rodney Medina, from five minutes ago, is about whether the Immidio Flex will be able to run on the desktop portion of, of Windows RT to put those Office profiles in.

Rodney Medina: Yeah, we, we, we could because from a programmatic point of view, it’s just another processor architecture you need to compile your code to.  But it’s, it’s all dependent of what they allow through the store.  I mean, if you look at the success the way – I mean, from a consumer point of view, I’m a real iPad user.  And the nice thing of an iPad is that the, it doesn’t get unstable because of the applications you install.  Because it’s pretty much isolated as to what you can do as a vendor or an ISV.

And yeah, and also the power usage [inaudible].  So it’s really dependent of what they allow through the store because they want to have a stable tablet, I assume as soon as they are really wanna go head to head with iPad in the future.

Brian Madden: And so a question, and this is something, Jack, we had that conversation yesterday with Ryan.  Tell me his last name?  Ryan, Ryan –

Jack Madden: Kellemer?

Brian Madden: Kellemer.  Let me see here.  Ryan, yeah, Kelember.  Kelember?  Kelember.  Kelember.  Ryan.  Sorry.

Gabe Knuth: You guys are good at this.

Brian Madden: So from, from WatchDocs.  And WatchDocs, I guess Jack’ll talk about them on Thursday.  They do sort of like DRM around files, you can sort of copy around of it.  We were asking if they were going to be able to build a client for – Or integrate with the DRM features of Office on Windows RT.  And he’s like, “We don’t even know if Office on Windows RT’s gonna support DRM.”

And meanwhile it’s coming out in six months.  And I said, “What does Microsoft say?”  And they’re like, “I don’t even think they know that that’s a question that people are gonna ask.”  And yeah, he said, he said –

Rodney Medina: Well, well, there is that – The strange thing I can add, just that one of our developers visited the Windows Built conference for developers last year, and they had the, the ARM-based tablets up there.  But like in the, when the show started that week, they all of a sudden decided that no one could even touch the devices.  So they were just standing there behind the glass, and the developers were not even able to play around with it.  So –

Brian Madden: Were they even real or was it just – Did they take a, take an iPad and like put a color form with the Windows logo on it?  Like a screen shot of Windows that they ran in Photo Gallery and said, “Look at how sexy these new Windows tablets are.”

Rodney Medina: Yeah.  Because yeah, that, the RT tablets will be more – They will have better, better battery life than the, the, the Intel-based versions.  They will have a slimmer look than the, the Intel devices.  So the thing I’m wondering is as soon as those, those Intel tablets and the RT tablets will hit the stores is that people will just look at the description, at the label, and they will say, “Hey, this one has 10 hours battery life, and it’s, oh, it looks cooler.  I’m gonna buy the RT version.”

And then you come home and you’re, you feel just as limited as buying an iPad because you can’t do anything on the device what’s not in the Microsoft store.

Gabe Knuth: Right, and the person at Media Market or Best Buy here in the States, they’re not gonna know the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8.  Yeah.

Brian Madden: Well, right.  It’s gonna be irrelevant.

Gabe Knuth: Do we even know – Do we even know that RT’s going to come out at the same time as 8?  I mean, we’ve been assuming this, I think.  But do we even know that that’s the case?  I know Jack had just mentioned that it’s six months away, but maybe it’s not.  You know?  Maybe it’s, maybe it’s a year away and maybe that’s why those conversations haven’t been had yet with Microsoft about whether Office would have DRM and that kind of a thing.  Because maybe it isn’t even on the radar.  Maybe the focus is on get 8 out, and then we’ll deal with RT and, and ARM versions of applications and stuff.

Rodney Medina: That’s a good point.

Brian Madden: It’s looking like – So Venture Beat’s saying there’s no date yet for – Yeah, this is a new article from right now that they don’t have the date of either, it looks like.

Gabe Knuth: Well, I – Windows 8 was always – I mean, the general consensus was late 2012, I think.  So, but I, I don’t know that I’ve even heard such a, a vague date for WOA or RT.

Brian Madden: So the, the other thing about – So the problem with Windows RT of course, also, is that no one has it.  So people have – Because remember Windows RT will not be available as downloadable software.  It’ll only come prepackaged on these ARM-based tablets and phones and laptops and stuff.  

So, so right now all these developers –

Rodney Medina: Well they, they need to make it available for developers before – Because otherwise they, they launch it and no software will be available.

Gabe Knuth: Well, that’s what I mean.  The –

Rodney Medina: Well, what’s a man without the apps, I guess?

Gabe Knuth: I need to just stop pointing this.  Yeah.  And so, and that just – That’s one of the other things, too, that just leads me to believe that maybe RT isn’t going to be out for awhile.  Because, because if the developers don’t have it yet, they’re not gonna have too many titles at launch.

But they did mention, I thought, that Metro apps would be compatible regardless of what the underlying platform was.  So, so if you’re developing –

Rodney Medina: That’s a, that’s a - .

Gabe Knuth: If that’s true, if you’re developing for Metro now, it’ll run on RT as well.

Rodney Medina: It depends on what code you’re writing.  So if it’s going to be html type of code you’re using for your Metro app, then it will work out of the box.  But if you’re doing more heavy-duty developing, on C++ for instance, then you really need to compile it towards the different devices in the app store for Microsoft.

Brian Madden: Yeah.

Gabe Knuth: Okay.

Brian Madden: And Microsoft has said that they want to make it easy for developers to compile.  So they want to make it so that if a developer is writing a Metro app, that they can just write it once and then compile it twice, once for x86 and once for ARM.  

Rodney Medina: Mm-hm.

Brian Madden: But every developer I’ve talked to – And Rodney, you tell me this – It’s, that’s one of those things that looks good on paper, but inevitably you take your existing project and then push the compile for ARM button and see 47 exclamation marks why it’s not gonna work, and spend the next –

Rodney Medina: Yep.

Brian Madden: Between five minutes and seven weeks trying to figure out –

Gabe Knuth: Right.

Brian Madden: What the hell these things mean.

Rodney Medina: I think it will be, I think it will be a little bit the same when developing an application for the iPad or the iPhone.  There will be two applications in the app store, and some of the applications are not visible on the other device, which doesn’t support it.  I think it will be some sort of deal like that.

Gabe Knuth: Yeah.

Brian Madden: So the other sort of controversial thing around Windows RT, and this is something that – You know, we’re seeing the, in the, the, the, the questions in the chat room.  So Windows RT, we spend a lot of time talking about who Microsoft is targeting that towards.  Is it gonna be targeted towards, towards consumers, which I don’t know how the hell they – I mean, flat out, how they’re gonna beat iPad is beyond me, especially when iPad has 50 million per quarter of production volume and you have this, like, amazing device.  

If Microsoft can’t build iPads – Or I should say, the Microsoft partners, you know, Acer and HP and them, they can’t build something as sexy as the iPad and sell it at profit.  


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