The next generation of Microsoft Office, titled Office 15, is expected to be released towards the end of next year. However, we should be able to get our first taste of Office 15 a lot sooner than that. If WinRumours sources are correct, then the first technical preview will be released in early January at the CES, followed by a public beta towards the end of the same month.
We have been tracking the development of Office 15 for more than a year. However, we still have very little concrete information about Microsoft’s market leading productivity suite. Microsoft is widely expected to adopt the new Metro interface, which has already impressed us in Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8. Office 15 should also play better with touchscreen devices like tablets. Earlier in the year, screenshots of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook leaked out, followed by a M2 build. The leaked build included a new tile-based gallery app called Moorea that is showcased below.
The first beta of Windows 8 is also expected to be released at the next CES. Windows 8 will be Microsoft’s first operating system that has been designed from the ground up to work in multiple form factors and even multiple hardware architectures. Office 15 has the potential to become one of Windows 8’s biggest unique selling points as far as tablets are concerned. However, the million dollar question is, can Microsoft successfully make a traditional desktop app like Office usable and intuitive on smaller resolution touchscreen tablets? Come January, we should have the answer.