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Microsoft Demos New Windows 7 Features

Los Angeles — Microsoft showcased innovations in Windows 7, the eventual successor it is developing for Windows Vista, today during its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2008.

The new operating system is designed to make it easier for hardware partners to create new experiences for Windows PC consumers.

The company encouraged hardware manufacturers to start testing their current products and building new product on the application programming interface; a “pre-beta” was distributed to WinHEC attendees.

“We’ve done a great deal of work in Windows 7 to enable new scenarios with our hardware partners, and we are excited by the partner innovation we have shown today,” said Jon DeVaan, senior VP of the Windows core operating system division at Microsoft. “Windows 7 presents tremendous opportunities for hardware developers. This innovation will enable our hardware partners to provide customers with even greater choice in rich computing experiences.”

Microsoft showcased a variety of Windows 7 features designed to help PC users manage devices, access broadband and perform wireless activities. The software maker views the system as providing a chance for its hardware partners to “improve their customers’ experience.” Highlighted features included:

·         a new feature called Devices and Printers, said to provide customers with a single place to interact with devices, browse files or manage settings;

·         Device Stage, designed to help customers take advantage of advanced features in specialized devices like cellphones, multifunction printers and digital cameras; according to Microsoft, Device Stage provides information on the device status and runs common tasks in a single window customized by the device manufacturer; and

·         Windows Touch, which makes the Start menu, Windows Taskbar and Windows Explorer touch-ready. The new system is also said to provide support for multitouch technology, enabling consumers to perform functions like zooming in, zooming out and rotating images onscreen with their fingers.

Microsoft announced early industry support for its Device Stage feature through partnerships with Brother, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nikon, Sansa, Canon and Sony.