Week in review: Windows 8 peekaboo, RIM profit slump, ICT goes Google

Week in Review

There are few things more thrilling in life than an Indian summer, 2-for-1 Krispy Kreme doughnuts, an over-excitable fat person in a mosh pit and Microsoft previewing a brand new version of Windows 8. If that's not enough fun for you, there's the usual collection of screw-ups in Whitehall and problems at RIM to keep you amused.

Shiny new Windows

Microsoft showed off an in-progress build of Windows 8 to its developers this week. It's a radical re-imagining of the familiar Windows interface with the Start menu replaced by a Windows Phone 7-style Start screen dominated by touch-friendly tiles and apps.

The familiar desktop and old-style apps will still be a click and a tap away on PCs and tablets using Intel processors. However, in light of Microsoft's confirmation that existing Windows apps won't work under Windows 8 when run on upcoming ARM-based tablets, there is mounting speculation that the familiar desktop could be jettisoned too. We live in interesting times.

Crackberries not so addictive after all

While Blackberry maker RIM is still profitable, the smartphone company's latest financial results show a drop both in profits due to slow sales of Blackberry smartphones and Playbook tablets and a severe dip in the company's cash reserves. The bad news has seen the company's share price dive by 20 per cent.

Judging by chatter on social networking sites, diehard Blackberry fans are placing their hopes in a software update for the Playbook and a revamped QNX-based Blackberry smartphone OS which should allow the use of Android apps submitted to App World. Yes, that will revitalise both the Blackberry as an attractive platform and RIM's influence depending on another platform's applications running inside an unproven compatibility layer. Good luck with that.

Look Daddy! I know computers!

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt rightly criticised the state of science and technology teaching in British schools a few weeks ago. Naturally, the Conservative-led coalition government fell over themselves in addressing Schmidt's concerns.

We don't have a problem with this per se it's just a shame it takes the intervention of a rich American businessman to galvanise education reform. I guess we'll have to wait for Larry Ellison to criticise the state of PE in British schools before the government invests in revamped sports fields.