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I have lost count of the number of rumors that I have heard regarding Windows 7, which is due to be released next year. Since there is so much mis-information floating around about this new release, I wanted to take the oppertunity to give you my two cents worth and tell you what you can expect out of this release. Keep in mind that the information that I’m giving you is credible today, but anything could potentially change between now and the time that Windows 7 is actually released.
The first rumor that I want to discuss is the rumor that Windows 7 is going to be a major new release with an entirely new kernel. Microsoft has discribed Windows 7 as a “Major release”, but my own impression based on what I have seen so far is that it is going to be more like Windows Vista R2. Contrary to speculation, it seems that Microsoft is going to continue to make both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows available, and that Windows 7 is going to be based on a modified version of the Windows Vista kernel.
As new features go, by far the biggest new feature is going to be the touch interface. I saw an interview with Bill Gates about a year ago, and someone asked him if there was anything about the evolution of the PC that surprised him. His response was something to the effect that he was surprised that we were still limited to interacting with a PC using a keyboard and a mouse. He claimed that one of Microsoft’s goals was to make interfacing with a PC more natural using things like speech and touch. Although HP makes a PC today that features touch screen capabilities, it is limited in comparison to what will be available in Windows 7.
Windows 7 will allow you to use both hands to touch multiple points on the screen simultaniously in an effort to perform various tasks. If you want to see what I am talking about, take a look at the video at: http://gizmodo.com/393568/windows-7-features-revealed
Most of the fetures that are being demonstrated in the video are consumer focused, but I expect the touch screen capabilities to have an impact in enterprise environments as well. After watching the video, it is obvious that marketing departments, or any department that produces creative media will benefit from the new touch capabilities. It is purely speculation, but I would not be at all surprised to see Microsoft produce touch enabled versions of Microsoft Office. I can just imagine a version of Excel that allows you to create and modify charts from a touch screen. Perhaps Microsoft Word users will be able to insert comments into documents just by tapping the screen. Touch screen capabilities could also make Power Point a lot easier to use.
In any case, I think I will buy some stock in a company that makes screen cleaners, because I’m sure that fingerprints will be an issue.