BLANTYRE--Education partners of Microsoft employees in Malawi are amongst the first people in the world to sample the software giant’s latest operating system, Windows 8, which is set to launch on October 26 globally.
John Nielsen, General Manager of Microsoft Customer Service & Support (CSS) for Europe, Middle East, Asia and Americas (EMEA) unveiled the Windows 8 Tuesday night during a product demonstration at St Andrews International School in Blantyre.
The Windows 8 is built based on Metro design language and introduces a new form of "Windows 8-style software", which may only be obtained through Windows Store. Windows 8 also features a new start screen, Internet Explorer 10, native support for USB 3.0, a new Windows Defender that combats malware (instead of only spyware), Windows To Go, and support for UEFI SecureBoot.
Windows 8 is available in four major editions, namely Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows RT. The first three have almost the same hardware requirements as that of Windows 7, while Windows RT runs on tablet computers with ARM architecture and has different hardware requirements. The new software has already been unveiled this week in Nokia Lumia phones.
“We’re proud to be able to provide a powerful tool that will increase productivity of business and individuals, and provide every day solutions to life. Windows 8 is about creativity and opening doors that were closed before,” said Nielsen, who was leading a mission of 15 Microsoft engineers in Blantyre.
The Windows 8 precursor was part of activities to mark the successful conclusion of a two-week ICT boot camp that the Microsoft employees, working on a voluntary basis, conducted with teachers and students working under the Malawi Learning Partnership (MLP) project.
Nielsen said Windows 8 is an ubiquitous and user-friendly software that has been designed to host several applications while offering simplicity, multi-purpose and beauty.
On Tuesday, Microsoft employees presented a donation of 40 laptops to Jacaranda School of Orphans and St Andrews International. Jacaranda, which runs free primary and secondary schools for orphans, received 20 laptops while St Andrews, received the remainder. The British school is coordinating the MLP project and will use the laptops to connect and host up to 13 government-run secondary schools.
“It is my vision that whether a student comes from a rural village or underprivileged background, they are equally empowered with the knowledge and tools to access ICT through these computers,” said Christopher Scutt, the director of E-school at Saints.
During the two weeks, the Microsoft employees provided ICT training to teachers from various secondary schools as well as boot camps for girls aspiring to embrace digital technology and ICT as career. The MLP aims to connect both private and public schools to the internet as a way of helping them gain access to ICT as a vital education resource.
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