A Better Tomorrow

Inside Windows 7
by: Jerry Liao

It’s the time of the year where predictions are made – what’s going to be hot and not in the technology world in the coming year. Let me be the one to start this prediction mania by saying that Microsoft Windows 7 will be hot this coming 2009 if it does deliver what it promises to deliver.

Microsoft introduced what it said would be a slimmer and more responsive version of its Windows operating system. The new version will be branded Windows 7, because it is the seventh of a long line of operating systems for PCs developed by the company since the 1980s.

Microsoft executive Mike Nash in his blog said “The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity. Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows. We’ve used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or “aspirational” monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista. And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense. Likewise, coming up with an all-new “aspirational” name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows.”

Microsoft is still a bit secretive about its new operating system, but this is what we know so far: Windows 7 will not contain a huge architectural modifications that Microsoft made with Windows Vista but it will streamlined and refined the user experience.

One of the good news is there will be no incompatibility issue between Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Any hardware or software that works with Windows Vista should also work correctly with Windows 7, this is according to Microsoft of course.

Windows 7 will contain a new taskbar which will make switching from one application to another as easy as point and click. Right-clicking on icons will show a new UI device called “Jump Lists”. Jump list provide quick access to application features.

Another feature is called ‘peeking’ where it allows users to peek at certain windows or applications without really switching to the application by simply scrubbing the mouse over the taskbar thumbnails.

In addition, Internet Explorer 8, native Web services API and federated search enable developers to integrate the best of Windows and Web services.

Microsoft also highlighted the following Windows 7 features that will allow hardware partners to optimize how customers interact with Windows PCs, manage devices, access broadband and engage with wireless experiences, providing new opportunities for partners to improve their customers’ experience:

– Devices and Printers. To make it easier for customers to interact with all the devices on their Windows PC, Microsoft has created a new feature in Windows 7 called Devices and Printers. Devices and Printers provides a single place for customers to interact with devices, browse files or manage settings. Devices can be connected to the PC using USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, with simple wizards that simply the setup process.

– Device Stage. Device Stage enables hardware manufactures to create an even richer user experience, especially for more specialized devices such as cell phones, multifunction printers and digital cameras. Device Stage is designed to help Windows 7 customers take advantage of advanced features for devices. For mobile phones, portable media players, cameras and printers connected to a Windows 7 PC, Device Stage provides information on the device status and runs common tasks in a single window customized by the device manufacturer.

– Mobile broadband. Windows 7 delivers a simpler and more reliable way to connect to the Internet using wireless modems. The process is similar to connecting to any other wireless network, and is done using the View Available Networks feature. A consistent experience for customers and a common infrastructure for partners enables lower support, maintenance, deployment and management costs, and allows partners to focus on higher-value services rather than basic connectivity development.

– Windows Touch. Controlling the computer by touching the screen is a core part of the Windows 7 experience, with visual feedback provided for tap and double-tap gestures. The Start menu, Windows Taskbar and Windows Explorer are touch-ready. Windows 7 also introduces support for multitouch technology, which enables customers to control what happens on the screen in new ways by zooming in, zooming out and rotating images with their fingers.

Windows 7 reflects an evolved approach to engineering that weaves partner feedback more closely to the development process, and enables the delivery of innovative new features while preserving compatibility and performance.

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