All three manufacturers had Windows 8 tablets on their stands at BETT, all of which were running the developer preview of the operating system.
RM used its RM Slate tablet and a Samsung Galaxy Tab to detail Windows 8 and the Metro UI at the show, with company representatives paying particular attention to the tile-based (and customizable) start bar, the desktop landing page and the side tool bar. Company employees claimed that everything is now becoming ‘gesture driven in education’.
It was a similar story at Fujitsu, which was at the exhibition to drive new software developers to build education apps for its Stylistic Q550, which runs Windows 7 Pro. The Japanese firm was showcasing a communication app (Grid 2) for specials need children and revealed that it has recently had some success ramping up applications for the health market.
As with most manufacturers looking to adopt Windows 8, Andy Hill, Fujitsu UK's channel manager for the Stylistic Q550, was opportunistic on the OS, crediting the huge install base as the most likely reason for success. Hill also revealed that Fujitsu has recently had a go at improving the user interface of Windows 7 Pro, to make it more in keeping with the touch-friendly future of Windows 8. One of these improvements is a “Click Me” feature which allows users to customize the sizes of the keys on the virtual keyboard.
Fujitsu believes that most educators will be willing to wait for Windows 8, while Hill, interestingly, suggested that most educators have been able to adopt the iPad, due to tablets not featuring under any particular IT budget.
Finally, Dell also took to the show and was seen running the developer’s build Windows 8 on its Latitude ST tablet. A spokesman, who asked to remain un-named, said that the firm expects the next beta of Windows 8 in February, with the official release of the operating system now nearing the end of 2012.
Dell believes that Microsoft is taking its time with Windows 8 to avoid mistakes of the past (like Vista) and to ensure the OS runs smoothly across devices. The spokesman added that the future of education apps lies in HTML 5, allowing content to be streamed and used on any device.