Software firm ready to dive below the Surface

"What we are hearing from most of our customers is, 'we want to hear what’s happening with Surface'. They are waiting." Damon Kelly.
"What we are hearing from most of our customers is, 'we want to hear what’s happening with Surface'. They are waiting." Damon Kelly.

A Hamilton software development company is expecting to write up to 100 applications for Microsoft's new Windows Store in the next year.

Damon Kelly, chief executive of Enlighten Designs in Victoria St, said he expected big demand for custom applications from his business customers once the new Windows 8 personal computer operating system was launched on October 26.

Demand will be driven by the accompanying release of the Microsoft Surface tablet computer designed to compete with rival Apple's iPad. Microsoft chief executive Steve Balmer said in June that the company would make its own tablet computers alongside partners such as Hewlett Packard, but few other details were available.

Ben Gracewood, of Auckland-based Marker Metro, which was incorporated in November to write applications exclusively for Windows 8, as well as Windows Phone 7 and 8, was surprised how little information Microsoft had released on the Surface.

"I thought Microsoft was insane announcing the Surface without any pricing or release date," he said.

"But since then we have encountered several customers who were intending to purchase iPads and stopped."

The Surface is designed to provide all the functionality of a desktop computer with the convenience of a tablet.

Marker Metro expected to write 25 to 50 Windows 8 apps in the next year.

"What we are hearing from most of our customers, is, ‘we want to hear what's happening with Surface'. They are waiting," Kelly said.

Microsoft has yet to confirm availability of the two Surface models it has announced, but other manufacturers will start selling computers with the touch-sensitive Windows 8 software from October 26.

Microsoft is offering its existing 1.3 billion Windows customers a $40 upgrade to Windows 8, which also works with a keyboard and mouse on non-touch-sensitive hardware, and is also building an application store into Office 2013.

More than 1.2 billion people use Office every day.

Because the Windows Store was regulated by Microsoft, it delivered applications that were safe to download and free of malicious software.

"You know what you are getting since the curated app store is safe," Gracewood said.

Marker Metro, which took its name from the Metro moniker Microsoft applied to its new user interface before a legal challenge forced it to drop it, has written an application for online music streaming service 7digital, online auction site Trade Me and an online news applications.

Its team of six expects to write about 25 applications over the coming year.

Two of the five applications written for the new Windows 8 personal computer operating system are aimed at cricket fans.

Christchurch-based NV Interactive, which employs 22 staff, has written two cricket applications for Windows 8 - the New Zealand Cricket application, which delivers the latest information regarding domestic and international matches, and ESPN cricinfo, featuring live coverage of all international matches.

NV Interactive's technical director, Gus Pickering, was banking on the Surface, and other computers like it, being used in the office and at home for different applications.

Waikato Times