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CES 2009: Microsoft releases Windows 7 beta

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CES 2009: Microsoft releases Windows 7 beta

Las Vegas (NV) – Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the availability of Windows 7 Beta to TechNet subscribers during his opening keynote of CES 2009. A public beta will follow this Friday.

Windows 7 was one of the dominating topics in Microsoft’s pre-CES keynote and it seems that the company is on track top deliver the software later this year. The first beta of the software has been made available late Wednesday to TechNet subscribers; a public beta will follow on Friday. Despite the fact that it is still a beta, Ballmer said that he encourages “all users to download and install” the operating system.

“We are on track to deliver the best version of Windows ever,” Ballmer said. He promised that Windows 7 will boot faster, provide more battery life in notebooks, run on netbooks and show fewer alerts. Besides the features shown previously, an on-stage demonstration of the operating system included a new window tiling functionality, which allows users to put two windows next to each other while Windows automatically snaps them to the left and right edge so the content of each Windows can be compared side-by-side. All new features integrated in the desktop focus on reducing the number of clicks that are necessary to perform certain tasks.

The multitouch feature in Windows 7 also received an addition: Besides multitouch features known from the iPhone – such as pinch-zoom – Microsoft added more controls that, for example, let users tilt views in applications such as Virtual Earth.  

The word “Vista” was not mentioned during the keynote, emphasizing Microsoft’s intent to drop the current Windows OS as soon as it can. Ballmer noted that Microsoft is “transforming Windows” to take advantage of an opportunity that “may be bigger than it was 25 years ago.” Without providing further details, he briefly mentioned a consumer cloud-version of Windows as well as Microsoft’s idea to build a “connected platform” on Windows. In that context, Windows 7 may not be the “full OS release” Microsoft says it is, but rather a transitional software or “Vista fix” that bridges the gap to a next-generation Windows.

Ballmer mentioned several times that the company wants to connect the PC with the cellphone and the TV and Windows 7 may be a first step into the direction. “We are working hard to get it right and ready,” Ballmer said.