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A peak at Device Stage's display when looking at options for your cell phone. Note documentation and functionality are both easily accessible.  (Source: Microsoft)
The latest developments from Windows 7 focus on hardware

With the bits of Windows 7's pre-beta and milestone releases taking the torrent community by storm, there's more excitement than ever surrounding the highlights of the UI and top level features of Microsoft's upcoming OS, demonstrated and released at its Professional Developers Conference.  Many are pleased to see Windows 7 to be running leaner than Windows Vista, despite featuring rich graphics.

An important focus at Microsoft for Windows 7 has been hardware, though, not software.  Hardware was a virtual nightmare for both Microsoft and Vista users, when poor developer support led to incompatibility with many devices at launch.  Vowing not to repeat this problem, Microsoft is rethinking how it approaches hardware with its new OS.

At its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, it released more official pre-beta copies of Windows 7 to hardware developers.  And it gave the same features overview, this time with a hardware twist.

Leading the way is Device Stage, a new invention from Microsoft.  This intuitive idea is something you might expect from OS X, but it’s a sign of the newfound creativity brewing at Microsoft.  The new center allows the user to select from any device attached to the system.  Microsoft is providing an interface that allows the user to access any capabilities of the device and to go online to fetch manuals and documentation on the device.  Microsoft is being stricter with hardware partners, demanding they provide quality interfaces and information.

An example of how this feature would work is if you plugged in your cell phone -- say a Blackberry Pearl. Clicking on the device in question, Device Stage has a section for manuals, a file browser where you can manage content or look through the files.  Any interface functionality, which the hardware provides will be accessible in Device Stage.

Julie Larson-Green, vice president of program management for the Windows Experience describes, "I can set up my sync capabilities [on my Motorola phone].  I can manage the media on my device. I can browse files. I can go and find that documentation because I probably threw out the manual when I got the box, so I can go online and get that. And anything that the device does can be exposed through the Device Stage."

Also improved is Microsoft's code to exploit SSD drives.  SSDs will be faster than before.  They will also provide much faster wake up and hibernation.  According to initial reports, the difference between a Windows 7 PC equipped with a SSD and a Windows Vista PC is visibly dramatic when it comes to wake-up and sleep times.

Microsoft says it is planning "Windows enhancements that take advantage of the latest updates to standardized command sets, such as ATA."  SSD makers are enthused about Microsoft's support as they feel it may give the turbulent industry the boost it needs.

While much of the Windows 7 hardware interface upgrades will require some work from developers, Microsoft is also mollifying them, by explaining that they will have less work to do adapting to the underlying interface than with Vista, as Windows 7 shares much with Vista on a base hardware level.

Microsoft is expected to elaborate more on new hardware features in coming weeks.

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RE: Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By eilersr on 11/5/2008 2:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
True, but there is always a demand/price curve for new technology that never comes down quick enough. Give it time.

Think about it this way: If MS can improve the benefits of using SSD's, more people will be able to justify the extra cost. The more people that buy into the technology, the bigger and more competitive the market becomes, driving down costs. So indirectly, this may actually help bring prices down!

By therealnickdanger on 11/5/2008 2:52:40 PM , Rating: 5
SSD performance is NOT Microsoft's problem! SSD performance has everything to do with sh*tty controllers chosen by the manufacturers. There are plenty of SSDs that absolutely kickass when used with ANY OS.

By CvP on 11/5/2008 2:55:48 PM , Rating: 1
then...umm...this will make them perform even better (at least a little), you got a problem with that?

RE: Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By Clauzii on 11/5/2008 2:57:07 PM , Rating: 3
If the OS is part of the problem with the other drives, why not fix it?

RE: Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By tastyratz on 11/5/2008 3:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
This is not MS admitting there's a problem, this is MS optimizing their OS to utilize the potential resources ssd drives bring to the table.

And in response to other comments above: How else do you propose MS works to lower ssd prices? They are a new technology and will be widely embraced. Ssd prices are not managed by, nor the responsibility of Microsoft.

To be technical if anything: MS optimizing 7 to squeeze extra performance out of SSD drives IS working to lower prices by encouraging mass production and adoption through additional incentive.

By Clauzii on 11/5/2008 3:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
That is why I wrote 'if' :)

The rest I agree on.

RE: Windows 7 Shows Off Improved SSD Support
By Joey B on 11/5/2008 3:00:41 PM , Rating: 2
Just because it is not their problem, doesn't mean that they can't do their part to make things more efficient and faster.

By rdeegvainl on 11/5/2008 4:19:39 PM , Rating: 2
You are right, now get to work on it Joey B, and do your part to make them faster and more efficient.

By Visual on 11/6/2008 3:36:41 AM , Rating: 2
Oh but it is SO their problem.
Not all of it, granted... but an important part.
Their IO code is written with traditional HDDs in mind, expecting big latencies, slower performance for non-sequential operations and a bunch of other specifics. They are working around those with caching and reordering of operations and other things which just don't make sense for SSDs, and in fact hurt performance there.

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