Here are some notes I took from the WinHEC 2008 keynote
Device drivers for Windows Vista should directly work on Windows 7, so manufacturers do not have to rewrite their drivers, even (some) new functionality that is exposed by Windows 7 does not require new driver development.
They showed a demo between booting a Vista machine and a Windows 7 machine, Windows 7 desktop was much faster available than Vista. In Windows 7, device drivers are loaded in parallel and not serial, also services are started on demand, I thought about that when Windows 2000 was released, how come it takes Microsoft 8 years to think about that. Call to the device driver developers is to also start their services on demand.
Open Window Memory Usage
The amount of memory used by open windows on your desktop is linear. In Windows 7 the memory usage stays the same, by letting only the Video Card manage that memory and not both (Vista)
Windows 7 will optimize battery life, they showed a demo of 2 identical machines one running Vista and one running Seven playing the same DVD movie, with a tool they showed, how much mWatts was drained by it see pic:
Also the PowerCFG command get an extra parameter: /energy, which can generate a HTML report that exposes (unused) devices that drain the battery (will not go to sleep and so the CPU cannot go to a low powerstate, with the new command you can turn of those devices.
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.
These devices appear with a photo realistic 'icon' for easier management and distinguishes.
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. Bluetooth 2.1
Bluetooth 2.1 new stack is natively present in Windows 7. It has faster discovery and easier pairing process
Windows 7 will have native support for DIVX, XVID, x264 and other popular codecs. If a target device does not support a codec, Windows 7 will transcode it
The Beta release of Windows 7 is expected early next year, they are planning 1 Beta then, 1 Release Candidate and then RTM, hopefully in Q4 2009.
OEMs who participate in the beta can now let their customers join the beta program too.