January 21st event rumor roundup: Hardware, Office news coming, Windows Phone bits not so much?

January 21st event rumor roundup: Hardware, Office coming, Windows Phone OS not so much

In just over 24 hours, Microsoft will begin a new chapter in consumer computing, announcing its latest plans in a press-only Consumer Preview event. The event will be live webcast, and be sure to follow along at WinBeta as we dissect all the latest news coming out of Redmond.  So what will we see/hear, exactly?  Well we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out, but some new rumors have surfaced in the days leading up to the event that might give us more of a clue as to what's in store.

The first rumor has it that Microsoft will not only reveal news about the new operating system, but some new hardware as well.  The Information reports that Microsoft may reveal "new hardware, with some set to appear this week and a phone-laptop hybrid that might appeal to enterprise customers being developed for further in the future".  Sort of a broad statement, but we will be interested to see if Microsoft carts out any new "Windows 10 ready" devices.

Mary Jo Foley has a couple of more specific speculations about what to expect from the event; that we may get our first glimpse into "Project Gemini", the long awaited touch-first version of Office. The new Office is set to run on what's being called "OneCore" inside of Microsoft, that is, a single Windows 10 kernel complete with DLLs and the application platform layer.  Mary Jo notes that this does not imply a single SKU, but rather a single core running multiple editions of the operating system across devices.

Microsoft Office

While getting a peek at Office V.Next is good news, Foley also reports she's hearing that we *won't* get our hands on it until sometime in February, and that for that matter we won't get bits for a mobile version of Windows 10 until February, either.  We are expecting to get a new build of Windows 10 for the desktop at least shortly after the event, and are holding out hope (or at least this Surface 2 user is) that we'll hear more about plans to bring Windows 10 to Surface RT models.

A couple of Halo-named products, Cortana and Spartan, are expected to get good billing at tomorrow's event, and Foley thinks there might even be news about a new gaming "helmet" that she terms "Project B".

There will be more gaming news than just Halo references, and Phil Spencer, the head guy at Xbox, is expected to talk more about Xbox, possibly Xbox on PCs, and Xbox Live.

Can't wait to get up early and head over to Building 92 tomorrow, stay tuned to see which of the latest rumors turns out to be true, and if Microsoft even has a surprise or two to reveal!

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