Microsoft rallies hardware engineers to begin development and testing of products for Windows 7
Today at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2008, Microsoft Corp. showcased new innovations in Windows 7 that make it easier for hardware partners to create new experiences for Windows PC customers. Windows senior vice presidents Steven Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan encouraged hardware partners to start testing their current products and building new products on the application programming interface (API) complete pre-beta that was distributed to WinHEC attendees. Microsoft also provided a pre-beta release of Windows Server 2008 R2 to attendees.
“We’ve done a great deal of work in Windows 7 to enable new scenarios with our hardware partners, and we are excited by the partner innovation we have shown today,” said DeVaan, senior vice president of the Windows Core Operating System Division at Microsoft. “Windows 7 presents tremendous opportunities for hardware developers. This innovation will enable our hardware partners to provide customers with even greater choice in rich computing experiences.”
Opportunities for Hardware Vendors With Windows 7
Microsoft demonstrated new features in Windows 7 that 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. The following features in particular were highlighted:
- 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.
“We’re helping protect partner investments in Windows Vista as we build Windows 7,” DeVaan said. “Our goal is to maintain very high compatibility with products designed for Windows Vista.”
Device-Makers Laud Microsoft’s Early Partnership Efforts
Microsoft also announced early industry support for Device Stage from partners including Brother, Epson, HP, Motorola, Nikon, Sansa, Canon and Sony.
As part of the keynote, Microsoft demonstrated Canon’s SD990 digital camera and a Nokia N95 smartphone to show how Device Stage makes it easier for people to use multifunction devices and makes it easier for hardware companies to package custom applications and services as part of the user experience.
Early-partner adoption of Windows 7 and Device Stage illustrates the larger industry opportunity for device manufacturers to increase customer satisfaction by providing customized device information that can be updated at any time. It also provides a platform for device manufacturers to offer customers built-in support for common features and direct access to services such as ring tones, ink cartridges and photo printing. The investments being made in Windows 7 not only help customers get the most from their devices, but also create new opportunities for partners.
“Canon and Microsoft share a history of working together, responding to customer needs through each company’s outstanding technologies and products,” said Yoshiyuki Suzuki, senior general manager of the Office Imaging Products Planning Center at Canon. “We look forward to further developing our relationship with Microsoft as we lay the groundwork for high-performance Windows 7-compatible Canon products.”
“We have been working closely with Microsoft to help ensure compatibility and seamless connectivity between our leading smartphone software S60 on Symbian OS and Windows 7,” said Eero Kukko, head of S60 Platform Marketing at Nokia.
“For the past year, HP has been working closely with Microsoft to ensure maximum reliability, compatibility and an enhanced user experience for our imaging and printing products with the Windows 7 operating system,” said John Crandall, director of Strategic Alliances for the HP Imaging and Printing Group.
Windows Server 2008 R2
Also at WinHEC, Microsoft will be demonstrating Windows Server 2008 R2 to attendees. Microsoft is working with original equipment manufacturers, independent software vendors and developers to help ensure that customers can make full use of the latest industry hardware advancements in 64-bit, as well as multicore and manycore processing and power management efficiencies, with Windows Server 2008 R2. Additional technology investments include virtualization, Web, power management and scalability, while delivering an enhanced experience for Windows 7 customers.