Among other things, Vista's successor, Windows 7, will bring with it multi-touch support utilizing technology developed by the Surface team. What impact this will have on touch-based computing as a whole remains to be seen; just be sure not to make the mistake of referring to the Tablet PC as a niche market when discussing touch-based computing.
"I won't go so far as to say it's the next mouse, meaning it will be on everything and you have to use it," Microsoft's Ray Ozzie said during an interview with TechFlash. "But it's not going to be like the Tablet PC, where it was truly niche. I think it will go broader and broader."
Ozzie's comments have sparked a backlash of sorts from some of the Tablet PC faithful who feel that the his comments are a slight against their, well, niche PC. But it's not necessarily the truth of the statement that has users perturbed so much as it is hearing Microsoft make such a comment. For example, Loren Heiny of the Incremental Blogger writes:
"What is the case, is that Tablet PCs have been sold like they are niche. The manufacturers have kept the prices high – keeping the volume down and off of store shelves. Even Microsoft itself has relegated the Tablet features to its premium SKUs rather than making them available in low-cost educational PCs where isn’t it obvious that there’s great value and need for them? And feature-wise, we keep coming back to Tablets and IT. Yeah, I wonder why that might be? Might it be the niche thinking of some large northwestern company? Huh? Ring a bell?"
Do you take issue with Ozzie's statement? Hit the jump and let us know.
While Windows 7's basic "look" is a refined version of Windows Vista, Windows 7 is much more than "Vista, Take 2." One of the most significant new features coming in Windows 7 is Device Stage, and Device Stage is one of the major themes of this week's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC).
What is Device Stage?
Device Stage, for the first time, looks at a device as a single entity rather than as a collection of different components. As ArsTechnica describes Device Stage:
Attaching a device in current versions of Windows gives sometimes unpredictable results. A multi-function printer/scanner/fax, for instance, might show up as several different things within Windows: a printer, scanner, removable disk, and some vendor supplied management suite...The "Device Stage" feature is designed to alleviate some of these problems by treating devices as distinct "things" with multiple abilities.
To learn more about Device Stage, and to find out what hardware vendors think about this new feature, join us after the jump.
While Windows 7 is shaping up to be something fresh and new, this pre-beta isn’t anything to worry about. To spend the time, bandwidth (especially for Comcast and AT&T users) and electricity downloading this pirated version of the fledgling OS would be cheating yourself, because this pre-beta comes up low on the impressive meter. And plus, we can’t in all good consciousness condone pirating software.
While the accidental release of the build of Windows 7 came through the Pirate Bay and Mininova (in convenient 32-bit and 64-bit formats!), it was originally intended for an unnamed group of developers. The downloads of Microsoft’s OS of tomorrow have been off the charts as well, with one particular copy providing more than 1,000 uploaders, and roughly 7,000 downloaders.
The build that’s being sought so desperately is a notably incomplete version. It’s missing taskbar updates, as well as other large features. According to comment threads on the torrent sites, most users are unimpressed with what they’ve found. But with a pre-beta, what did they expect?
Ever since Windows Vista arrived, MacOS fans have delighted in discussing how Microsoft's newest operating system was "inspired" by Apple's OS. According to TGDaily, though, the tables have turned in Windows 7. TGDaily's Christian Zibreg identifies five Windows 7 features that should be on the "add to MacOS" list, including:
Multi-touch (on-screen keyboard, mouse gestures)
The Windows 7 taskbar (live thumbnails that even show opened tabs in IE8)
Libraries (group as many locations for music, photos, or other media together as you need and access them with a single logical location)
Play to and Windows Media Center (better media playback wherever you want it)
Device Stage (all your device information and configuration tools in one place)
Whether you're a MacOS fanboy (or fangirl) or are just looking for a better x86/x64 platform than Windows Vista, these features are pretty exciting. Until the public beta hits late this year, you can check out some of these features here. Be sure to join us after the jump for the chance to sound off about what you like, or want to see, in Windows 7.
TGDaily delivers a slideshow of Windows 7's new and improved features, including improvements to the desktop, media playback, file management, hardware support, networking, security, applets, and tops off the tour with a look at IE8 and Windows Live applets. To go straight to the features you're most curious about, join us after the jump.
Mozilla's open-source Firefox browser continues to gain ground in the browser wars in what can be considered a major uphill battle. Firefox has flirted with a steady 20 percent market share in the past, and according to Net Applications, October has been kind to the configurable browser, which settled in at 19.97 percent. That number represents a 0.51-point jump over September and is a record high for Mozilla.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's Internet Explorer slipped again last month, continuing its trend as having the fastest declining market share out of the six most popular browsers. But far from being a free fall of sorts, IE's combined share nestled in at a still very dominant 71.52 percent, down from 71.27 percent one month prior. That puts IE at a 4.2-point drop for the year, compared to Firefox's 2.99-point gain.
It will be interesting to see what kind of effect Google's Chrome browser may have on the top two contenders. Currently, Chrome only accounts for a 0.74 percent slice of the browser pie (down from 0.78 percent), but that could change if Google follows through with adding extension support.
Hit the jump and tell us how you see the browser wars shaking out in 2009 and beyond.
Die hard Apple fans love to defend their platform, and that’s okay, it’s actually good to know they are capable of emotion. But is this really what passes for a news story? The popular web tabloid AppleInsider.com ran a news feature on Friday criticizing Microsoft’s decision to place a Vista campaign booth outside an Apple store in Birmingham England. The booth was apparently set up to record I’m a PC videos for possible use in upcoming marketing efforts. Some of the clips gathered are slated for use in TV commercials while others will be used for web promotions. In addition to gathering video clips, Microsoft staffers are on hand to convert potential Mac customers back into the fold. The booths are the continuation of the Vista ad campaign which started with Bill Gates and Jerry Sienfeld, and more recently matured into the “I’m a PC” initiative.
For most of the last decade, improving 3D performance has been the primary goal of operating system, application (read gaming) developers, and hardware developers. However, when you're at work, trying hard to make the money you need to buy a new HDTV and über-gaming PC, you're probably working in a 2D world that's being managed by the creaky GDI/GDI+ APIs which were first developed back to the 1990s.
This week, Microsoft introduced a replacement for GDI/GDI+ called Direct2D. Microsoft's Thomas Olsen, a Dev Lead in the Windows Desktop Graphics organization, uses his new blog to bring us up to speed on why we need the new Direct2D API and how it will make PCs work better.
To learn more about Direct2D, join us after the jump.
Leaked screenshots of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 OS are nothing new, and we expect even more frequent peeks with beta releases floating around the web. That's the case with GottaBeMobile.com, who is currently participating in the Windows 7 beta and is showing off several screenies of the new OS running on a Tablet PC.
As would be expected, much of the focus remains on the Tablet Input Panel (TIP) and how the TIP tab operates. This includes how-to animations that display when clicked and show how to correct a word, how to delete, split a word, how to join, and an option to hide the videos. And in a departure from Vista, handwriting to the TIP is auto recognized inline instead of displaying the recognition results in a bubble below the word.
GottaBeMobile promises that there are more screenshots to come, so if this is your bag of tea, consider adding the site to your favorites.
Straight out of the “surprise!” file, Microsoft’s Live search engine is down in usage while Yahoo’s has finally gained some ground. Despite Microsoft’s offering serious perks to the members of Club Internet to use their search engine, they just weren’t able to come through in traffic, as claimed by researcher ComScore Inc.
According to ComScore, Yahoo’s portion of the Internet search engine pie has gone up from 19.6 percent to 20.2 percent. Unfortunately for Microsoft though, their percentage has dropped from an already low 8.9 percent down to 8.5 percent. Not surprisingly, Google took care of 62.9 percent of the searches made, and still has a very demanding lead.
At this rate Microsoft is going to have to cook up some pretty exciting perks to lure users back over to Live. (Try this one out: “Search for a date with Scarlett Johansson.” Thank me later.)