Little is known about most features on pre-beta Windows 7 version to be shown at PDC

Window's Vista hasn’t proven to be the wildly popular operating system that Microsoft had originally hoped. The early angst against the OS was so strong that Windows XP still hangs around and can be had on many new computer systems.

Microsoft is already getting Windows 7 ready to pick up where Vista floundered. DailyTech reported on October 14 that Microsoft had chosen to stick with Windows 7 as the official name for the coming operating system. Microsoft also said that it would show the OS to developers in pre-beta form at the Professional Developers Conference this week.

Ahead of the conference, some details are coming out that give an idea of some of the early features of Windows 7. According to ZDNet, the features being offered in the pre-beta version at the show include Action Center, StreamOn, a new animation framework, new task bar and shell, multi-touch and gesture recognition, ribbons, and improved Bluetooth support.

Many of the details of the features won’t be known until they are announced officially at the conference. Action Center is known to be a self-diagnosis tool to help repair problems with Windows 7. Hopefully, rather than Vista's tendency to simply tell users who have problems to get drivers from the hardware makers website or the error can’t be fixed, Action Center will actually offer a fix for errors.

The DeviceStage feature is one of the unknowns, though ZDNet speculates that it may be a sort of souped up Plug and Play since the feature will only work with Device Stage enabled peripherals. StreamOn is a way to control multimedia content on the PC, but how it works is unknown. The new animation framework is a question mark as well. Perhaps it's a built-in animation creator sort of like the built-in movie editing features.

Multi-touch and gesture recognition are features that have been associated and known for Windows 7 for a while. Improved Bluetooth support is self-explanatory, though the level of "improved support" is unknown.

The ribbon interface was seen in leaks from September of the M3 build of Windows 7. I haven’t personally seen the ribbons, but if they draw half the ire in Windows 7 as the ribbons did in Office 2007, I hope there is a way to go back to a more traditional Windows layout.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft is on track to deliver a public beta of Windows 7 by mid-December 2008 and the final version in 2009. That time frame would jibe with Asus CEO Jerry Chen's statement that Eee PC netbooks would ship with Windows 7 by mid-2009.

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