An array of innovative, third-party miniapplications and programs that bring to life the technology advances in the Windows Vista operating system will debut next week along with Microsoft Corp.’s new operating system, making it easier than ever for people to find and connect to their information.
Major media firms and other companies will be among those releasing ”gadgets,” miniapplications that let people instantly manage and access live information and Web-based services directly from the Windows Vista desktop. Some ultra-realistic 3-D programs and innovative applications from new-media, retail and education companies also will be available for consumer use when retail versions of Windows Vista debut on Jan. 30. Many more cutting-edge applications and programs will arrive over the coming weeks and months.
“These partner gadgets and programs will offer people a more interactive, visually engaging computing experience — the Windows Vista experience,” said Tom Caputo, group product manager for the Windows Client Group at Microsoft. “The industry partners that developed these innovative applications are among the first to realize the potential of Windows Vista to deliver information, entertain and educate people in new ways.”
Gadgets Bring Web Services to the Desktop
Industry partner gadgets utilize advanced Web services technology to deliver live, persistent online content and data directly to the Windows desktop, along with quick views of frequently used applications and services. These gadgets can be organized and easily accessed in the new Windows Sidebar, a pane on the side of the Windows Vista desktop.
Third-party gadgets for a broad variety of interests and activities will be available — most via free online sign-ups — when Windows Vista is available on store shelves next week. The following are among them:
– News and information. Time.com will deliver its Quotes of the Day via a gadget that links directly to the magazine’s Web site, while an SI.com gadget will feature a condensed version of its home page, with the latest news, scores, photos and material from SI writers. CNNMoney.com created a gadget featuring its list content, such as America’s Best Places to Live. The Weather Network, the largest weather information supplier in Canada, will offer weather alerts and traffic-related information that may include Virtual Earth for mapping.
– Entertainment. People.comwill offer a gadget featuring breaking news and Star Tracks photos as well as blog postings and celebrity style photos from its StyleWatch section. Instyle.com will deliver its Party Calendar via a gadget, and EW.com will do the same with its television guide and review service TV Watch.
– Business. Workopolis, Canada’s biggest job site and resume database with more traffic and jobs than any other job site in Canada, will provide services to potential employees and employers via a gadget that ties into its back-end systems. Workopolis is a unique and complementary partnership of two Canadian media companies: Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. and Gesca Ltd., the newspaper publishing subsidiary of Power Corp. of Canada.
New Programs Add “Wow” Factor, Easier Access
A similarly broad range of industry partners has taken advantage of the advanced graphics and the new Windows Aero user experience in Windows Vista to create high-definition, animated programs and Web sites. Interactive demonstrations of many of these new programs can be viewed (on PCs with Windows Vista or other operating systems) at the Windows Vista Innovation Café at http://www.windowsvista.com/innovation, with more to come.
These programs provide innovative new ways to do the following:
– Make presentations. Solutions from the French leading technology provider for the fashion industries Lectra SA enables fashion designers to give life to their ideas and improve visual communication with 3-D animated storyboards. A new presentation program from Electric Rain offers engaging, editable, broadcast-quality business presentations and built-in gadgets.
– Access sports content. Independent software vendor Electric Red has developed a next-generation sports entertainment experience initially featuring action sports and motor sports. It will offer exclusive behind-the-scenes access as well as competition highlights and give fans the ability to browse, sample and purchase content from this unique Web portal.
– Share digital media. A unified online service from iBloks Inc. lets digital media enthusiasts drag and drop their favorite photos, video clips and music into fun mix-and-match instant 3-D movies that they can share with friends online through instant messaging or on digital devices.
– Go shopping. A digital kiosk from outdoor retailer The North Face acts much like a virtual sales associate, with easy touch-screen visual navigation.
– Learning. Knowledge Adventure Inc. has developed a new game in the popular JumpStart educational series with lifelike, visually enhanced graphics, along with a gadget that lets parents track their children’s progress in the game and receive learning tips from experts.
Assistive Technologies Bring Customers Unprecedented Ease of Use
Advances in the underlying technology of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft® Office system will enable customers who experience a range of physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities to use the very latest in assistive technologies sooner than was previously possible with newly released operating systems.
Through close collaboration with Microsoft, a number of assistive technology vendors will offer innovative products and services for people with disabilities simultaneously with the retail launch of Windows Vista and the 2007 Office release. In addition, Windows Vista and the 2007 Office release offer features that will make it easier than ever for people with disabilities to use their computers. For example, Windows Vista includes a new Ease of Access Center, state-of-the-art speech recognition and screen magnification capabilities – Microsoft.