According to news and rumor site The Inquirer, Microsoft plans to rebrand its Windows Mobile operating system to Windows Phone. The name change "reflects the upcoming desktop operating system release where people away from their PC can have the same experience everywhere," Microsoft explains.
The Windows Phone branding will be applied to Windows Mobile 6.1, the upcoming 6.5 release, and also to the multitouch-capable WIndows Mobile 7, due out sometime in 2010. There's no word yet on when the new Windows Phone branding will be implemented, nor do we have much info on why Microsoft has decided to rebrand, other than to make it easier for consumers.
Windows Mobile 6.5 Windows Phone has already been sent to manufacturers and will include the ability to backup all SMS and email content to the Web, remote disabling of the handset, and the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
According to Nvidia, Windows 7, which recently reached RTM, will be the catalyst that propels the concept of GPGPU computing into the mainstream.
"Previously, GPUs were almost exclusively limited to rendering and accelerating graphics and video," Chris Daniel, product manager for software at Nvidia, wrote in a Microsoft Partner blog. "With the introduction of Windows 7, the GPU and CPU will exist in a co-processing environment where each can handle the computing task they are best suited for. The CPU is exceptionally good at performing sequential calculations, I/O, and program flow, whereas the GPU is perfectly suited for performing massive parallel calculations."
Nvidia went on to say that by introducing the DirectX Compute in Windows 7, Microsoft is providing a huge shot in the arm for developers to make better use of the GPU for more than just graphics acceleration. Such tasks include high-quality video playback, high performance transcoding, enabling new media scenarios, and offering extended control over media libraries.
"As an example of the real world benefits of DX Compute, you will be able to use the massive parallel capabilities of the GPU to significantly reduce the time it takes to manager your media files compared with just using the CPU alone," Nvidia added.
Previous versions of Windows have included separate folders for documents, music, videos, and photos (such as Windows XP's My Documents, My Pictures, My Videos, and My Music folders). These folders made it convenient to organize and open different types of files - as long as they were stored in the appropriate folder. However, with the increasing popularity of using network shares and external hard disks for media storage, Windows users have faced challenges in file management.
Although shortcuts to additional media locations, symbolic links to other locations (introduced in Windows Vista), and changing the default location used by a user's media files have all been used to cope with the problem, the results for Windows users have been:
A lot of clicking to find media files
No easy way to see all of the media files of a particular type in different locations at the same time
Enter the new Windows 7 libraries feature. To learn how libraries make media management easier and more powerful, join us after the jump.
If you're like us, you've been patiently awaiting official word on when Microsoft will make available Windows 7 RTM (Release To Manufacturing). We're not the only ones pressuring Microsoft for an answer, and thanks to a blog post by Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, we now have some concrete dates to play with.
According to LeBlanc, ISV (Independent software vendor) and IHV (Independent hardware vendor) Partners will be able to download Windows 7 RTM from Microsoft Connect or MSDN starting on August 6th. Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members can snag the RTM in English through the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal a little later beginning August 16th (all remaining languages will be available on October 1st). If you're a Microsoft Action Pack Subscriber, you can grab your copy in English starting August 23rd, and again October 1st for all remaining languages. OEMs will receive Windows 7 RTM software images beginning about 2 days after Microsoft makes the RTM official.
Other availability dates include:
Volume License (VL) customers with an existing Software Assurance (SA) license: August 7th
IT Professionals with a TechNet Subscription: August 6th
Developers with a MSDN Subscription: August 6th
LeBlanc also went on to confirm the availability of a "Family Pack" for Windows 7, which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs, but did not say how much the package will cost.
Now that Windows 7 has officially been released to manufacturing (RTM), expect to see third-party driver development kick into high gear, especially as the OS's October 22nd release date inches closer. AMD appears to be ready and has announced the release of the company's first WHQL-certified ATI Catalyst graphics drivers for the RTM.
AMD's Catalyst drivers are of the unified variety, meaning the same set works with both Windows 7 and Vista. With regards to Windows 7, AMD promises its drivers will offer stability and compatibility out of the gate, bring "full support for the visually stunning desktop environment of Windows 7," better gaming performance when compared to Vista, and full support for ATI FirePro professional graphics.
It's official - Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing (RTM), meaning the code is finished and ready to be pressed on CDs. After significant testing, build 7600 met all the validation checks required for RTM, which also includes having all languages of that build completed, says Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communication Manager at Microsoft.
"Today's release is the result of hard work and collaboration with our partners in the industry to make Windows 7 a success," LeBlanc wrote in a blog post. "We delivered Windows 7 with a predictable feature set on a predictable timetable that allowed OEMs to focus on value and differentiation for their customers."
LeBlanc went on to give credit to the "million of people who tested Windows 7," noting that over 10 million people chose to opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).
According to LeBlanc's previous blog post, OEMs can expect to receive Windows 7 RTM software images in just a couple of days now that build 7600 has gone RTM. LeBlanc also listed a bunch of other dates detailing when specific segments can get their hands on a copy, which can be viewed here.
Thanks to a recent posting on the Windows 7 Team Blog, we finally have a confirmation on a family pack, and plenty of detailed information on just how everyone will get their copy of the new OS.
Those of us that are run of the mill consumers will be able to get our hands on Windows 7 starting October 22nd, for both retail and pre-order. And, if you beta tested it, let it be known that you “will not automatically receive a free copy of Windows 7. Many beta testers are already subscribers to TechNet; those of you who fit that description will be able to download Windows 7 RTM shortly after RTM happens for free as part of your subscription.”
And, giving in to the swirling rumors, solid information on the family pack is finally available. “I’m happy to confirm that we will indeed be offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium (in select markets) which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs,” wrote Brandon LeBlanc on the blog.
If you’re looking for any additional information, be sure to check it out here.
Windows 7's display configuration settings have gone through some of the biggest transformations from previous editions, including Windows Vista. And, the changes are more than skin-deep. With improved support for portrait displays, better ways to detect and manage multiple monitors, easy projector connections, and better theme controls, Windows 7 makes it easier than ever before to make the visual components of Windows work the way you want them to. Join us after the jump for all the details.
T-Mobile G1 owners already have an idea what to expect from Google's Android operating system, but now anyone can give the OS a whirl, and they can do it on their PC. No convoluted hacks required - just download the Live CD image, burn it to disc, and reboot your PC.
The hacked OS comes courtesy of the Beijing-based LiveAndroid team, who released its first LiveAndroid alpha build in May. Now in version 0.2, the new release is based on Android Cupcake (version 1.5) and adds some useful functionality, like a mouse-controlled curser, keyboard support, and Ethernet. Still missing are WiFi, Bluetooth, and audio.
Although Windows has included the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab to help older programs to run properly under the current version of Windows since Windows XP, these features are not always able to help older applications to run. While Windows 7 continues to offer these features, some editions can also use a better way to run older Windows applications: XP Mode.
Join us after the jump for an in-depth look at XP Mode: the FAQs, what it can do for you, who benefits most from XP Mode, and how to use its new features.