More and more details are slipping out about the upcoming release of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 7. The current version of Windows, Vista, has seen little but negative attention in the press and in the minds of consumers, despite the fact that it brought a significant number of much-needed upgrades to the Windows platform. Despite Microsoft’s best (albeit lackluster) efforts at negating some of the stigma attached to the unwanted OS, even CEO Steve Ballmer is now agreeing that consumers are probably safe to just go ahead and skip a generation if they haven’t upgraded already.
Which is the fairest operating system of them all?
As a result, everyone is turning their eyes to Windows 7. Ballmer has gone on record as saying that Windows 7 “will be Vista, but a lot better”, implying that despite the suggested version increase, this round of OS updates will be evolutionary, not revolutionary, in nature. It’s probably a good move, considering the mess that Vista has landed them in. We knew from demos early on that W7 would add multitouch support to the OS, as well as smooth out some of the stability issues people had with Vista. According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, however, that’s far from all that’s going to be offered.
Improvements include Device Stage, a control panel of sorts for computer peripherals, Action Center, an improved troubleshooting arena for users, new taskbar and shell integration, improved bluetooth support, gesture recognition, and the addition of Office 2007’s ribbon interface to significant numbers of built-in applications. While Microsoft plans on distributing an alpha release of the operating system to attendees of its current Professional Developers’ Conference, it’s not officially taking off the wraps until tomorrow. For the rest of us, it’s rumored that Microsoft will be offering a public beta of the operating system before the end of this year, and a full release sometime next summer.