Windows 8 available in India, pricing starts at Rs. 699!!

Finally, the wait is over. Microsoft has announced the availability of its latest Windows 8 OS for users in India and around the world. Starting today, users can access the latest Microsoft OS on a wide range of Windows 8 PCs, ultrabooks, tablets and hybrid devices. Windows 8 will be available in two versions at retail – Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.
Apart from buying from the new range of Windows 8 devices, users can also upgrade their current PCs to Windows 8. From 2nd June 2012 until 31st January 2013, users currently running PCs with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 are qualified to download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated price of Rs. 1,999. Those who wish to buy a DVD to upgrade will have to pay Rs. 3,499. This offer is valid until January 31, 2013. After that the OS is expected to be priced above Rs. 11,000.

Any Windows 7 PCs purchased between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013, are also eligible to get a Windows 8 Pro update for an estimated price of Rs. 699 with the Windows Upgrade Offer, available at

For business users, Microsoft is offering ‘Windows 8 Enterprise’, which features Windows To Go, DirectAccess, and BranchCache, as well as new security with features including BitLocker and AppLocker.

Microsoft has also announced the launch of Windows RT for ARM based tablets, which will only be available pre-installed on new devices. With the Windows 8 launch, the Windows Store is now open for consumers to download apps. Indian users have access to a range of free and paid apps that can be downloaded including Bharat Matrimony, BigFlix, BookMyShow, Bookyourtable, Burrp, Dhingana, Fastrack Tees, Flyte MP3, Gaana, Goibibo, ICICI Bank iMobile, ICICIDirect, JustEat, MakeMyTrip Explore, MapmyIndia, my airtel, PVR Cinemas, Tarla Dalal, Yahoo Cricket and Zovi.

As many as 14 OEM partners including Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HCL, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lenovo, RP Infosystems, Sai Info System, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Wipro and Zenith Computers will be providing Windows 8-based PCs and tablets in India. According to Microsoft, more than 250 Windows 8-based devices, including 23 brand new SKUs of Windows 8 PCs, will be available in 100 cities and more than 2,500 retail stores in India.

“With the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft is unveiling a reimagined Windows to the world,” says Mr. Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. “Whether you want a tablet or a PC, whether you want to consume or create, whether you want to work or play – Windows 8 delivers a personalized experience that fits your unique style and needs.”

Microsoft’s HOTMAIL mail is now “OUTLOOK MAIL”

Microsoft has launched, a new, feature-packed web-based email system that will eventually replace Hotmail.

As it continues to prepare for the impending release of Windows 8, Microsoft has launched, a new web-based email service that embraces the name of the company’s well-known desktop email client, and will eventually replace the aging Hotmail.

Previously leaked as Newmail, doesn’t only offer email, as it also incorporates social networking integration, SkyDrive, Office Web Apps and in the future Skype video chat — showing Microsoft wants to challenge Gmail and Google’s suite of online apps.

Hotmail, which Microsoft acquired in the late 90s, is still a major player in the market, boasting the most users compared to its rivals; but its share is decreasing and Google is waiting to pounce.

Little has changed for Hotmail over the years, and Microsoft says it realizes it must “take a bold step, break from the past and build a brand new service from the ground up” if it wants to compete. The result is

Visually, it’s in keeping with Microsoft’s Metro interface, and anyone familiar with Windows Phone or Windows 8 will feel right at home. Like the recently renovated Gmail, there’s a lot of white space, but Microsoft is keen to point out some key differences between and Gmail, such as the lack of adverts displayed in the conversation window, and how it won’t pass information gained from emails along to advertisers.

Outlook Page View

Social interaction is a big part of too, with the ability to connect to Facebook, LinkedIn and if you search for it, Twitter as well. In the near future, Skype will be added and allow for video chats without leaving the site, while Facebook chat is built-in too. Social updates are delivered by mail, and all your contacts are imported, where they can then be grouped together.

Other features include Microsoft’s spam filter, a “graymail” filter to keep subscribed email content such as shopping site updates and newsletters separate from junk mail, plus unlimited email storage space. Microsoft also says that the clean design shows 30-percent more messages on a single page than other webmail clients.

Finally, Outlook mail can easily be setup on your phone or tablet, and it uses Exchange ActiveSync too.

It’s still early days though, and as is still a “preview” version, not all the promised features have been added, and even those that are don’t all seem to work yet.

Don’t let that put you off though, and if you want to try it, you can sign-up for an email address right now, or if you already have a Hotmail or a account, it can be upgraded through the settings menu.