Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Windows Vista Beta 2

Image: "Flip 3D" feature to navigate through open windows in Vista. Image copyright: Microsoft.

Microsoft has released Beta 2 of Vista, its next-generation operating system, this week.

PC magazine has a special report and a slide show of 46 images of the new features that are visible in Beta 2. Vista enables a sidebar — like the Google desktop search sidebar — by default and allows users to include new gadgets. The slideshow shows all the Vista gadgets currently available. The new Internet Explorer 7 has tabbed browsing and allows users to pick up web feeds from sites that publish them. There's also a Feed Watcher gadget that functions like a web feeds aggregator. And search seems to be highly integrated into the OS (wonder how Google will react to this).

Some impressions based on the slide show:
  1. The Vista's interface is in some ways similar to Apple's OS X.
  2. Many of the features have already been introduced by other players for their various applications or operating systems — Opera, Firefox, Apple OS X, Google — Vista has just integrated them into Windows.
  3. While MS claims that Vista can run on most systems, one would have to upgrade to better hardware to get the best out of the operating system. Vista needs a graphics card with 256MB of graphics memory to enable the "Aero mode" which displays a 3D view of the various windows.
  4. And there's always the two big MS bugbears: security and bugs — how well "Windows Defender" in the new OS handles these remains to be seen.

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