this week is launching a Web portal for Windows hardware and driver developers aimed at bringing more consistency to PCs running the operating system.
Windows Hardware and Driver Central is scheduled to be launched Monday at Microsofts in New Orleans.
The portal will serve as both an information depot and interactive community for the hardware and driver developers, said Brad Carpenter, director of Windows hardware and driver quality for Microsoft. It will include everything from technical information and white papers to chat rooms and development tools.
"We really want it to be a place where the parties get the information they need," Carpenter said.
The hope is that, armed with the pool of easily accessible information—and with hardware and software development cycles running more in sync—Windows hardware and driver developers will be able to create PCs that are more consistent and easier for customers to use.
For example, there currently are several different ways for users to control the volume of their PCs—from the knobs on the speakers themselves to the keyboards to the software accessed via the Start button, Carpenter said. It would be easier for users if there were one simple and consistent means for controlling the volume.
There are other ways of making life easier for users, including tighter integration between the PC and telephones, he said.
Much of information on the portal is being brought together from several other Microsoft sites, such as Windows Platform Development, Driver Development Kits and Windows Hardware Quality Labs. However, other features, such as some of the white papers, development tools, chat areas and full text search capabilities, are new, Carpenter said.
Offering a central repository for information and allowing for "holistic systems views" were among the key demands that Microsoft heard when it spoke with more than 750 Windows partners late last year and earlier this year, he said.
The portal is part of a push by Microsoft to get information out to its hardware and driver developers, Carpenter said. The company continues to invest in WinHEC—its hardware engineering conference—and over three days in November will hold its first Windows Driver Development Conference on its Redmond, Wash., campus, Carpenter said.
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