Thursday, October 22, 2009
Posted by Jon Westfall in "Digital Home Events" @ 10:30 AM
As I write this I'm standing in a sea of Microsoft technologies, all focused around Windows 7. It's around 12:30 PM EST on Launch Day for Windows 7, and Microsoft's presentation lived up to expectations. While many of us have no doubt have played with Windows 7 for quite some time, most haven't had the opportunity to use the finished product until today. So what were the highs and lows of the event? And what will you be wanting to pick up within the next 4-5 months to complete your 7 experience? Read on!
Figure 1: The lighting wasn't the best, but the content made up for it!
The presentation started promptly at 11 with A few brief introductions and then the main event, Steve Ballmer himself. Introduced by Kylie, the 5 1/2 year old "PC" featured in a few of MS's more recent ads, Ballmer's message was short and sweet. It can be summed up by the following paraphrase: Whatever your needs are, Windows 7 will fill them. A bold statement, however the demos provided (as well as the extensive hardware setup provided for hands-on experiences) seem to back him up.
Figure 2: Press and attendees crowd exhibits.
Of most interest to Digital Home Thoughts readers are the following points:
- Multitouch demos were extremely fast and responsive. Of course they have to be in front of a live audience, however if retail set ups are even a little slower they still blow away a lot of the lousy touch technology existing now.
- Homegroup, the feature that allows users to easily configure home networks, can play nice with corporate domains. Essentially this allows a business person to use their work laptop at home, print to their home printer and listen to music, without having massive reconfigure headaches upon returning to the office. Very cool.
- Windows Media Center on 7 features media content by a number of providers now, including a new launch of a plethora of primetime entertainment by CBS. This can bring a Hulu-like experience to Windows Media Centers & Extenders.This makes it "worth it" to hook your computer up to your TV in some way to get Media Center on the big screen.
- A Kindle e-reader app for Windows 7 will be in beta this fall, essentially allowing a tablet PC to be a Kindle.
- The Play-to demo, the capstone of Brad Brooks' presentation was refreshingly error free. From one Dell XPS 16 laptop, Brooks streamed content to 13 different devices, including televisions, picture frames, audio receivers, and an Xbox 360.
The last piece of the formal presentation focused on hardware that is now available and coming soon that leverages the Windows 7 experience in a number of new and exciting ways. Honestly if you're making any tech purchases in the next six months, I'd hold off to see what unfolds (Especially around Christmas time). There were announcements though that within the next 7 days a number of partners will provide deals in honor of launch. So deal hunters, keep an eye out!
Figure 3: Nobody has that many screens at their home, however if they did they could Play media through 7 to all simultaneously.
So to sum it up, Vista is gone and 7 is launched amid much excitement and palpable hope by Microsoft. A contender that can go toe-to-toe with ease of use arguments by competitors (e.g., Apple) and ease of extensibility, Windows 7 promises to change the PC experience. And for the first time in quite awhile, I think it actually has a chance to do so.