We can't imagine anticipation running any higher for the imminent release of Windows 7 than it already is -- anyone hosting or attending a launch party? -- and rightfully so, given that the OS seemingly combines the best of XP and Vista while getting rid of most of the negatives. However, don't expect Windows 7 to save a struggling PC market from sluggish sales.
So says Steve Ballmer, who during a news conference in Munic, Germany, downplayed the role of Windows 7 in any PC sales increase that may follow.
"There will be a surge of PCs but it will probably not be huge," Ballmer told the audience, according to Reuters. Ballmer also went on to suggest that the ailing tech sector would take some time to rebound into old form.
Ballmer could be playing the karma card, as he seems intent on tempering expectations for Windows 7, while at the same time he and Microsoft's marketing gurus have entered a massive campaign to promote the upcoming OS. Amid all the hoopla, Microsoft even offered a 90-day trial of Windows 7 to enterprise users in an attempt to entice them into upgrading.
Then again, who knows what goes on in Ballmer's head - see here.
It's a good thing most of use have long since moved on from dial-up, because come Tuesday, Microsoft said it will send out its largest-ever number of security updates to fix and plug holes in every version of Windows, including the first update for Windows 7 RTM. Internet Explorer, Office, SQL Server, Forefront Security client, and some developer tools will also be in the mix.
"Thirteen is not a lucky number," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security, in response to the monster update scheduled for October 13. "They've been a busy bunch at Microsoft, that's for sure."
Microsoft will ship 13 updates in all next week, eight of them considered critical. That's enough to break the record of 12 updates shipped in February 2007 and October 2008.
Five of the updates will affect Windows 7, even though the OS has yet to formally launch. However, enterprises with volume licenses, party hosts, and others have been able to obtain and run the finalized the OS for awhile now.
Uh oh, Windows 7 might not trump Vista across the board after all. According to PC tune-up software company Iolo Technologies, the OS of the hour takes longer to boot than Vista in most cases, no matter what you might have heard.
Iolo claims its lab unit found that a new machine installed with Windows 7 takes a minute and 34 seconds to fully load. Vista, on the other hand, takes a minute and 6 seconds, the company said. This isn't a straight boot time into Windows, says Iolo, who records how long it takes each OS to boot into a usable state where "CPU cycles are no longer significantly high and a true idle state is achieved."
Further crashing the Windows 7 party, Iolo says the situation becomes more dramatic over time. On a three-month old machine, Windows 7 took 2 minutes and 34 seconds to boot in Iolo's lab, or a minute longer than when first installed.
Have you noticed any boot-up sluggishness with Windows 7? Hit the jump and let us know!
As we know, the successor to Windows 7 may already be in development. What we didn’t know is that Microsoft may be considering making a 128-bit version of the OS. It was suspected that Windows 7 would be the last version of Windows to ship a 32-bit version, but will there still be two different versions, 64 and 128-bit?
The clues came from a LinkedIn profile for one, Robert Morgan, a senior developer at Microsoft. In his profile, Morgan stated he was working on, “projects including 128bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan.” There’s certainly no confirmation that Windows 8 will have 128-bit support, but Microsoft could be on the way to that technology. If not Windows 8, then maybe Windows 9.
This is all still very early speculation. We most likely won’t even see Windows 8 until at least 2011, but more likely 2012. We may see more clues in updates to Microsoft’s server products before that. Until then, keep an eye on LinkedIn. Apparently people love divulging details in their profiles.
Google's open source Android platform will turn one year old later this month, and according to Gartner, the OS is about to hit a major growth spurt. While Android can be found on less than 2 percent of all smartphones today, Gartner predicts a seven-fold increase in global Android-based handsets by 2012.
That would put Android in second place, trailing only the Symbian OS, which today accounts for nearly half of all smartphones but is expected to drop to 39 percent in 2010, Gartner says.
Gartner acknowledges that T-Mobile's G1 -- the first Android-based smartphone -- was met with a mixed response among consumers, but the research firm believes Google's continued backing of Android and its focus on cloud computing capabilities will propel the platform to 14 percent of the smartphone market in just a couple of years.
"Google's other up-and-coming consumer and enterprise products should make [Android] a dominant platform," Ken Dulaney, VP of Gartner Research, told ComputerWorld in an interview.
Dulaney also predicts that there could be as many as 40 models of Android devices shipping in 2010.
By all indications, Windows 7 will be met with a much warmer reception than Vista was at launch, and the Redmond company has already started certifying PCs as "compatible with Windows 7." The logo will appear on machines that "have passed Microsoft designed tests for compatibility and reliability with Windows 7," but can consumers really trust this to be true after the Vista-capable fiasco?
According to court documents, Microsoft bowed to pressure from Intel and lowered requirements for its Vista Capable stickers at the last minute so that the chip maker's 915 chipset could be included. Consumers balked when they found out that some machines bearing Vista's logo were only powerful enough to run Vista Home Basic, which had been stripped of many of the features found on other versions of Vista.
Rest assured, Microsoft seems to have learned its lesson and has no intention of repeating the same mistake. In order to qualify for a Windows 7 sticker, the PC or gadget in question must "work with all versions of Windows 7," and that includes 64-bit versions, not just 32-bit. So say you purchase a machine bearing the Windows 7 logo and later decide to upgrade from Windows 7 Starter 32-bit to Ultimate 64-bit, you'll be able to do so, according to Microsoft's certification requirements.
The software giant also says that logo'd machines are checked for common issues and are less likely to crash, hang, or reboot unexpectedly.
Unfortunately there isn’t much to say here that isn’t already captured in the headline, but it felt newsworthy nonetheless. Engadget has leaked some early photos of the final Windows 7 retail packaging, an image which helps send home the reality that our wait for the October 22nd launch is almost over. The source of the leak wasn't listed, but they did specify that the retailer who took the pictures is based out of Chicago.
The packaging is oddly reminiscent of the impossible to open hard shell case that Vista came in, but if figuring out how to bust open the packaging is the most challenging part of the upgrade, I’m sure we’ll be okay with that. Just in case it isn’t, don’t forget to check out our handy upgrade guide to answer all your remaining questions.
So, are you planning on upgrading right away? Or are you the type that likes to let everyone else shake out the bugs first?
Microsoft announced today via its Windows Blog that it has released the final version Windows XP Mode to manufacturing, and it should be available for download on October 22nd, the day of the Windows 7 launch. Presumably the new version of Virtual PC is included in this RTM, curiously however, no mention of this was made. Microsoft has also not indicated if this would be available early for MSDN or TechNet subscribers, but let’s face it, October 22nd isn’t as far away as it used to be.
For those who haven’t yet hard about Windows XP mode, it’s a way for Windows 7 users to run applications within a virtualized Windows XP shell for compatibility reasons. Windows 7 RC users who want to give the beta version a test drive can still download the technical preview at the Microsoft Download Center up until the new version is released on launch day.
Want to learn more about Windows XP Mode? Check out our feature focus series which helps you make sense of all the new features.
Out with the old and in with the new appears to be the theme for September. It doesn't even matter that Windows 7 hasn't been officially released yet, the Release Candidate has been solid enough for Vista users to leave their old OS behind and rock out with Microsoft's newest darling, according to market share data by web metrics firm Net Applications.
Vista's market share dipped by 0.18 percent in September, which isn't earth shattering, but it is the first time the OS has back tracked since January 2008. Windows 7, on the other hand, climbed 0.34 percent and now claims 1.52 percent of the market. Not bad for a pre-release OS.
On the browser front, Internet Explorer fared a little worse, losing 1.26 percent of its market share. The continued backwards slide has to be troubling for Microsoft, especially considering IE's market share set a new low of 65.7 percent. That's good news for Firefox and Chrome, whose market share jumped by 0.77 percent and 0.33 percent, respectively.
According to market research firm iSuppli, Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS for smartphones will outflank most of the competition, nearly triple its userbase, and take the No. 2 spot in the global market, all by the year 2013.
As it stands, Windows Mobile can be found on 27.7 million smartphones, but if iSuppli's prediction proves accurate, that number will balloon to 67.9 million in just a few years, giving Windows Mobile a 15.3 percent share of the global market. Should that happen, only Symbian would claim more users, who iSuppli says will control 47.5 percent of the market.
So what's the catch? Put simply, Windows Mobile 7 will have to succeed and kick ass. As competition heats up, Microsoft can't afford to "screw up" again and fall further behind its competitors.
"Microsoft in 2010 will introduce an updated version of its operating system, Windows Mobile 7, which is expected to sport an enhanced user interface and browser as well as multi-touch control," Tina Teng, senior wireless communications analyst for iSuppli, said in a report. "This will make it much more competitive with the alternatives on the market."
Let's first see if WIndows Mobile 6.5 -- slated for an October 6 release -- is enough to keep WinMo users from jumping ship before Microsoft sets sail with version 7.