Microsoft expects to roll out a preview of Office 2019 sometime in the second quarter, with general availability in the second half of 2018.
New features coming down the pipeline, according to Spataro, include enhancements to the inking feature, improved data analysis capabilities in Excel, expanded Power Point animation features and better security.
The first major update, code-named "Redstone 4," has been in the works since August 2017, when the first preview build was made available to Windows Insider testers.
Based on each subsequent build's release notes, Redstone 4 looks to be focused largely on feature refinements and usability improvements. The touch keyboard and handwriting features are constantly getting improvements, along with the Edge browser and the Windows Shell.
This early in the year, it might be too early to forecast exactly what Microsoft has planned for this second release, though there's at least one feature that Microsoft has already bumped from Redstone 4 and into Redstone 5.
"Sets," which first cropped up last November in a Redstone 4 build, is a workspace-management interface that revolves around tabs.
Microsoft first announced the planned transition last September at the Ignite conference, calling the move part of its "new vision for intelligent communications." That vision entails Teams inheriting Skype's voice calling and meeting capabilities, as well as AI and machine learning capabilities via the Microsoft Graph, while running on Skype's infrastructure for the back-end.
Those Skype calling capabilities became available in Teams last December.• A separate report indicates that Windows 10 S will no longer be a standalone SKU, but will included in all Windows 10 versions as an "S mode." Microsoft's semiannual release schedule for Windows 10 is less of a novelty now than it was back in 2015, when Microsoft ushered in the OS under a new "as-a-service" model.Three years and five version updates later, Microsoft is expected to stick to an update model it nailed down last year, with one major update release coming in the first half of the year (usually spring) and another in the second (usually fall).Cloud may be king at Microsoft nowadays, with the Office 365 productivity suite taking much more of a leading role in Microsoft's product development efforts compared to its on-premises or retail "boxed" counterpart, but Microsoft hasn't thrown in the towel on its old-school Office software yet.At its Ignite conference, Microsoft announced that it was readying the next version of the on-premises Office product, dubbed "Office 2019," for public release sometime in the second half of 2018.• Test build 17110 of Redstone 4 is released to Insiders. 23: Redstone 4 test build 17107 is released to Insiders. 14: Microsoft release Redstone 4 test build 17101 in addition to the first Redstone 5 test build (17604).