Windows 7 Beta Now Available

January 8th, 2009 at 12:00 am

ballmer keynote

While the Macworld keynote of Apple’s Phil Schiller was not as impressive as Steve Jobs delivering a Stevenote and some revolutionary new product, the world’s attention turned to Las Vegas for the Microsoft keynote at the CES 2009 trade show.

Like Apple, Microsoft usually has Bill Gates delivering the keynote, however Bill is as enjoyable to watch as Phil Schiller.  Nonetheless, this year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is taking the stage for the keynote.  Ballmer unlike Gates has the stage presence like Jobs.  So effectively we have ourselves a Stevenote from Microsoft.

This year, Microsoft does release something hyped up during the Stevenote or the Ballnote (so we don’t get confused).  It’s a beta version of Windows 7, the highly anticipated replacement of Windows Vista.  Here’s the lowdown:

"I’m thrilled to announce the availability of the Windows 7 beta, which is on track to deliver simplicity and reliability," Ballmer said. "Windows 7 and Windows Live are part of an incredible pipeline of consumer technology that is making it easier than ever for people to communicate, share and get more done."

Microsoft demonstrated new features and key improvement in Windows 7 based on listening to the needs of customers. Windows 7 is designed to do the following:

Work the way consumers want.

With Windows 7, Microsoft paid special attention to performance, reliability, security, compatibility and battery life. The company is on track to deliver a great experience that will allow customers to spend more time doing the things they want to do, without the operating system getting in the way.

Make everyday tasks faster and easier.

The more streamlined and intuitive design of Windows 7 is intended to simplify the things people do every day on their PCs.

Desktop improvements make using the PC easier and provide immediate access to the applications and files people use most often through features such as Jumplists, Previews and the new Taskbar.

The new Home Group feature makes it easier for consumers to connect multiple home PCs together to share printers and access files, music, photos and videos. Device Stage makes connecting and working with devices easier than ever with a single interface to manage devices and run common tasks.

New multitouch technology in Windows 7 will enable people with touch-screen monitors to use multiple fingers to interact with their PC screens in a more intuitive way.

Offer a better entertainment experience.

Consumers today have access to more digital media and are increasingly using the PC as the hub of their electronic experiences. The "Play-to" feature in Windows 7 allows easier streaming of music, video and photos to devices in a home network.

Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center in Windows 7 have built-in support for more media formats so people can use their PC to play more media content and sync it to a broader range of devices.

As an alternative to monthly digital video recording (DVR) fees, Windows Media Center, available in some editions of Windows 7, with a TV tuner and improved user interface, makes recording TV free and easy.

Well at least we got something new and (hopefully) revolutionary from Microsoft.  They say that the Windows 7 beta is available for free here although I’ve also read somewhere that copies of the OS are limited to 2.5 million.  Anyway, it’s worth a download but make sure you have an updated Silverlight first so you’re browser doesn’t stall.