Microsoft chairman Bill Gates yesterday unveiled a first-look at the software giant’s next incarnation of its flagship Windows operating system entitled Vista, which is due out later this year.
In the first broad demonstration of Windows Vista, until recently codenamed Longhorn, Gates showed how Microsoft’s next-generation operating system will offer customers powerful new advances in security, search capability and digital entertainment.
In his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show taking place this week in Las Vegas, Gates highlighted how Windows Vista will help customers easily accomplish everyday tasks, instantly find what they want, enjoy the latest in entertainment, keep their personal information safe and stay connected at home or on the go.
He highlighted some of the consumer-oriented features of Windows Vista, including a sleek user interface, richer multitasking capabilities and deep integration of search throughout the operating system. He also showed the new Windows Photo Gallery, which will make managing and working with digital photos easier.
He showcased the most advanced Windows games platform for everyone from casual players to hardcore gamers, including stunning graphics capabilities, by premiering Microsoft Games Studios’ forthcoming Flight Simulator X, which he claimed to be the most realistic flight simulator in the franchise’s 25-year history.
Gates was joined onstage by MTV Networks’ Music Group president Van Toffler to showcase the forthcoming Urge digital music service. This will give users of Windows Media Player 11 instant access to more than 2 million songs from major and independent labels as well as exclusive MTV Networks programming and content.
Demonstrating the Windows Media Center capabilities of Windows Vista, Gates cited growing momentum around the platform by announcing that more than 6.5 million Windows XP Media Center Edition-based PCs have been sold from more than 130 computer manufacturers worldwide.
In his keynote, Gates said that the consumer electronics industry is poised to deliver a quantum leap forward in rich, interactive, high-definition experiences. “Technology has revolutionised how we listen to music, watch TV, play games, communicate, and manage and share personal information,” he said. “In the years ahead, further exciting innovations will unify the software, hardware and services in people’s lives, offering them even richer, more engaging and deeply connected experiences.”
Just a month after the global launch of the new Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, Gates discussed the product’s strong momentum in delivering high-definition hardware, games and digital entertainment experiences. Xbox 360, he said, is on track to be the fastest-selling video game console ever, forecast to ship between 4.5 million and 5.5 million units worldwide by the end of June 2006.
By John Kennedy