Parliament trials Windows 8 tablets


Windows 8 Launch

blog Australia’s Federal Parliament is well-known for its shoddy IT operation, with a recent report finding that it had no parliament-wide strategic plan, and many of its IT systems were out of date. Thankfully, the Parliament has appointed a new chief information officer, Eija Seittenranta, who is putting things to rights. Seittenranta’s first moves are detailed in this excellent article published by ZDNet (we recommend you click here for the full story), which contains this little gem:

“The Australian Department of Parliamentary Services has begun a trial of Windows 8 tablets with MPs and parliamentary staff, following a successful trial of iPads between 2010 and 2011.”

As we’ve previously chronicled, Australian CIOs are quite interested in Windows 8 tablets, and there are Windows 8 trials going on all over the country. So we’re not surprised to see half a dozen units handed out in Parliament. However, we are pleased. It looks as though Seittenranta’s appointment is already having an impact; and for Australia’s Federal politicians and their staff to have access to the latest technology is a very good thing. Now if only Microsoft could manage to ship the Surface Pro down under. Come on, Redmond. You don’t want to be late to the party!

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. It’s already looking like a lame-duck platform. Why does our Government insist on chasing proprietary systems?
    Haven’t they read the many reports into their inability to make these decisions in anything approaching a cost effective manner?

  2. bahahahahahahahahahahahaha….

    Win8 is nowhere near ready for prime-time yet. Still way too many bugs in there. And that’s ignoring the actual usability of the software itself.

    • What bugs? I’ve seen lots of criticism of Windows 8 but it’s all been focused on the changes from Windows 7; I haven’t seen complaints about bugs or instability. From my own daily use of Windows 8 I’ve found it to be rock-solid and easily as good as Windows 7, which itself was a very solid product. Are you actually experiencing problems yourself or just repeating something you saw on the internet?

      For most enterprises Windows 8 is the best choice for a tablet device, especially if their IT is already Microsoft-centric. iOS is great for consumers but it’s challenging to integrate into an enterprise environment. I speak from experience here; the govt department I work for is just wrapping up a failed iPad experiment and looking very closely at Windows 8 instead.

      • I unpacked a Samsung ATIV in the office last week to set it up for someone. First thing you would expect to do after booting would be to install system updates. I find that at least 3 of the updates on Windows Update cause it to BSOD (or the win8 equivalent) on bootup, requiring me to reinstall the system multiple times because restoring to a “system restore point” before the updates also failed.

      • Keep in mind that the current “Surface” device is currently only available with WindowsRT on ARM, not Windows 8 on x86, so you can’t really compare it to a general PC running Windows 8.

        • Sounds like your experience sucked, but in all fairness your sample size of one is too small to draw any conclusions. I’ve read countless reviews and impressions of Windows 8 and no-one seems to be complaining about instability or crashes. My own personal experience with a Samsung 700T has been flawless.

          I’m not sure why you’re talking about Surface or Windows RT; this article is quite specifically talking about “Windows 8 tablets”.

          • I’m not sure why you’re talking about Surface or Windows RT; this article is quite specifically talking about “Windows 8 tablets”.

            Are you saying Surface isn’t a tablet? The Surface tablet runs Windows RT. The Surface Pro, which is x86, is not yet available in Australia.

            The article doesn’t mention whether the tablets in question are Windows 8 or Windows RT, considering that most people wouldn’t know the difference. I would assume they both get called “Windows 8” for convenience.

          • I’m quite aware of what Surface and Surface Pro is, but this article did not mention either of them, so again I’m not sure why you’re bringing it up?

            What it does mention is “Windows 8 tablets”. Read the text again if you don’t believe me. Not Windows RT, Windows 8. I feel pretty certain that both Delimiter and ZDNet understand the difference between the two, regardless of what you suppose “most people” would know.

            I should also mention that Windows 8 tablets have been available (as in actually on the shelf in shops) for much longer than Windows RT tablets. For all you know DPS is using Windows 7 era tablets (like the Samsung 700T) with Windows 8 installed on them; this is what my workplace is trialling at the moment.

  3. “following a successful trial of iPads between 2010 and 2011.”
    That makes no sense to me. To previous trial was successful, therefore we’re going to give up on THAT idea and try something else! It seems like they want it to fail :P

    • Well technology moves at a much faster pace than parliament and since that trial occurred, much time has passed and technology is far further ahead.

      Clearly they believed that Windows 8 computers/laptops/tablets may be able to do the job better than the iPads and thus worth trialling though they might be just trialling it for the sake of it and if we see an Android trial soon I guess we know whats going on.

  4. For a tablet OS that requires enterprise scale management and security plus the ability to actually do work with productivity apps it is becoming clear why Windows 8 is the OS to beat.

    All you haters need to get back to your Angry Birds and fart apps, there is work to be done here.

    • Precisely. The enterprise is a very different place to consumer-land.

      One of the show-stoppers with iOS and Android tablets is the inability to authenticate against a domain. That and no support for multiple users. Yes you can hook up your iPad to the corporate mail server, but what happens if you lose your iPad? Whoever picks it up now has full access to your mail. That alone makes it simply unacceptable to many IT departments.

      Windows 8 by comparison has full integration with your corporate domain, and does basic security stuff like require the user to login again after waking, automatically locking itself after being idle for X minutes, and of course allowing multiple users with different logins. All the usual Windows PC stuff which enterprises actually require.

      Another factor often overlooked is that enterprises tend to have a bunch of .NET developers on staff who can build tablet-friendly apps for Windows 8 with nearly no additional training, but are far less likely to have in-house Android/iOS capability. This is a pretty big deal when it comes time to decide which platform you’re going to commit to – especially when HR finds out how much it costs to hire experienced iOS devs!

        • Except surface RT can’t join a domain can it? Which would kind of ruin the whole domain authentication thing you are talking about.

        • Aaand if you have ever used an iPad; you would know if it had a pin-code lock (and associated device encryption) you *dont* get access to the email when you lose it.

          I think you can even enforce password policies with the exchange account…

          And initiate a remote-device wipe, from your exchange remote email page.

          Perhaps people shouldn’t bag any OS from a position of ignorance.

          • Sure, but a 4-digit PIN isn’t quite the same level of security is it? I know the group policy at my workplace won’t allow anything like a 4-digit password, even when combined with a unique username. And we’re still limited to one user per device on iOS.

            You’re correct about Windows RT but this article is about Windows 8. Check the title at the top of the page!

          • pins on iPads iPhones can be any length password. 4 digit PINS havent been a requirement for a while.

          • (ps confirmed on my ios 5.0.1 iPad 1 – I havent upgraded to ios6) set my passcode lock to: “testing”

            There is an option for “enable simple passcode” yes/no. where simple is a 4 digit code; and non-simple is password using the full ipad keyboard.

          • Fair enough, I didn’t know you could go beyond 4 digits now (this is how my boss’s iPad is set up). But surely you can concede my overall point without nitpicking?

          • Regarding win8 vs win8RT we need more information.

            I am not sure I would be using a win8 pro tablet (the article says Win 8 tablets) due to battery life, weight and noise (fan noise). But obviously; it is unstated. (and since this is a trial to continue on from the iPad trial, there is absolutely no reason to expect that they are trialing windows 8 for the domain integration, which indicates to me it is more likely to be the longer-battery-life win8-RT tablets, but this is obviously speculation on my behalf.

          • I would be interested to know this as well. Personally I see less use for the RT version in the workplace then I do for the Pro version. The flexibility of being able to use all of your standard windows software is the trump card.

            Sadly, I don’t think that there are any really compelling devices available in Australia yet which use win8 pro.

            Compared to the RT, I would imagine that using an ipad or an android tablet (with 4.2 for the multiple user accounts maybe?) is as good.

          • Since the article specifically mentions Windows 8 several times and doesn’t mention Windows RT at all, I don’t think there’s any need for speculation. This coupled with the general lack of availability of RT devices until quite recently means we are quite clearly talking about x86 devices with the full Windows experience. I don’t know why you assume the “battery life, weight and noise” disqualifies an x86 device without knowing the use case or requirements specified by the DPS? It seems like you’re trying very hard to read more into this story than is actually there.

          • Actually Windows RT devices have been available for ages. Windows 8 Atom processor devices have however not been. These are direct competitors to the Windows RT devices have similar battery life, weight and noise (i.e. no noise).

            I bought an ASUS Vivo Tab TF810C – dual-core 1.8 Ghz Atom processor, 2GB RAM, 19 hour battery life (not sure what it really is but its definitely beyond anything I’ve ever used and I once checked it thinking it must be running out to find two-thirds was still left……), 11.6″ 1366×768 screen, 675 gram tablet + ~800 gram keyboard dock, 8.3mm tablet, $989.

            I’ve never run out of RAM. The only time I experience slow downs is when something’s being installed but I’m yet to see it freeze or be unresponsive. I’ve only once used more than 2GB of RAM and that was because of the internet (only thing that seems to use more than 100 MB of RAM).

            But it is definitely glitchy but its not Windows 8’s fault, its the drivers which ASUS hasn’t fixed. HP and Samsung were able to get the drivers for the Atom processors out on time so they released their products last year whilst ASUS and some others couldn’t. Similarly, Samsung released the fixes in December whilst the ASUS products will probably get it later. ASUS products, however, can update from the Samsung servers (not sure exactly how but I can’t be bothered).

            Whilst a bit on the small side as a laptop, its really the ultimate device for me. For screen size, think approximately the iPad’s screen but made 33% longer, i.e. same width but iPad is 4:3 but VivoTab is 16:9.

            In a couple of months, you’ll see a greater diversity of Windows RT tablets as some of the restrictions are pulled company and processor-wise and cheaper products flood the market.

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