At the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft is shining a spotlight on something besides the biggest LCD screen or the coolest new tech gadgets: It’s showing consumers how Windows can make their lives easier, more productive, more enjoyable.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opened the show with news that a beta version of Windows 7, Microsoft’s newest operating system, will be widely available for download on Jan. 9. He also announced the final availability of Windows Live – free software and services designed to bring a person’s online world under one roof and help them keep their life in synch.
Along with a new version Internet Explorer Mobile that helps today’s mobile phones connect to the Web in a more powerful way, these announcements underscore Microsoft’s efforts to design software that connects the PC, the web, the phone and even the television in a way that is easy to use and fun. It’s all part of Microsoft’s technology vision to deliver a “life without walls” for consumers.
Says Bill Veghte, senior vice president of the Windows business group at Microsoft: “We are excited to have the strongest pipeline of new technology for Windows in our company’s history. We really listened to what our customers want. And we think what we’re showing at CES gives consumers choices and experiences they haven’t had before.”
Windows 7: Available in Beta Today
With Windows 7, first shown at the D: All Things Digital Conference his past May, Microsoft is confident it has an operating system that reflects what customers want. Windows 7 designers have surveyed more than a quarter of a million people to learn more about how they use a computer and digital devices. The Windows Research Team also conducted thousands of online interviews, and enlisted 3,600 customers for user research and usability studies.
One thing they learned was that while people enjoy the convenience and features of the many digital devices they have these days – from cameras to music players – they also want it to be easier to use their devices with their PCs, to do everyday tasks such as moving pictures from a camera to multiple PCs, or sharing music, or printing to a network.
Windows 7 has been designed to cut through that complexity and make it easier for people manage devices and access their “stuff” across multiple devices, and in any location. A new feature called Home Group, for instance, is on track to help consumers connect PCs together to access music, photos and more regardless of where it is stored. That’s a big feature for many families – research from Forrester shows that more than half of all U.S. households now have multiple PCs. With Home Group, consumers can create “libraries” of files that extend across several computers or devices, so it’s easier to find things.
Windows 7 has been designed for better everyday use. The beta will feature a cleaner interface and minimal clicks to access to files and applications. Along with its improved task bar and start menu, Windows 7 will help users finish their work or find music, photos, or video faster and easier. It also on track to boot faster, shows fewer popups and helps extend battery life on notebook PCs.
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