As Microsoft aggressively starts to prepare the market for the debut of Windows Vista, it will use the Digital Life trade show in New York Oct. 12 to announce the holiday availability of PCs, software, hardware and games that will work with Vista, even though the operating system will not be available to consumers until early next year.
The software giant will also announce that more than 250 hardware and software products from over 50 industry partners have received the “Certified for Windows Vista” or “Works with Windows Vista” logo.
The logo program lets customers know that these products are compatible with the new Vista operating system.
Mike Sievert, Microsofts corporate vice president of Windows client marketing, will announce these moves in his opening keynote at Digital Life Oct. 12, titled “The Beauty and Power of Windows Vista,” a Microsoft spokesman told eWEEK ahead of that talk.
While Microsoft isnt expected to make Vista available to consumers until January, the company is moving to ensure that consumers can buy PCs now that are capable of supporting Windows Vista Home Basic and of running Windows Vista Home Premium Edition.
These PCs will be identified by either the “Premium Ready PC” logo or the “Windows Vista Capable” logo.
Microsoft is preparing to release Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Media Player 11, both of which are in Vista, in the next two weeks, hoping that releasing them to current Windows XP users will encourage those users to get familiar with the programs, which will be even more robust in Vista.
Internet Explorer 7 will be made available to Windows XP customers via free download in the next two weeks.
“Microsoft encourages all consumers to download the new browser once available to explore the browsing experience in Windows Vista and take advantage of the new security features that will help protect them against malicious software and phishing attacks,” the spokesman said.
Windows Media Player 11 will also be available as a free download from Microsoft on Oct. 24 and will enable users to take advantage of a new, more intuitive user interface; a new level of online store integration; MTVs URGE service; and improved navigation for larger music libraries.
In addition, Microsofts Sievert will use his keynote to show a number of products currently undergoing the Vista logo testing process and which will all be available this holiday season.
These include the smallest high-definition camcorder on the market, the Canon HV-10 HD Camcorder; NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards; Logitechs MX3200 Laser cordless desktop set; the MX Revolution mouse; the ChillStream game pad; the QuickCam UltraVision camera; and InterVideos WinDVD and WinDVD Creator.
Microsoft is approaching the certification of applications differently with Vista: There is the “works with” designation that indicates the application will work with and run on Vista, and theres the “certified for Windows Vista” designation, which has a higher bar and is for applications that take advantage of Vista in a unique way.
“The certification ensures our customers will have a great experience with these products now, and an even better one when they are using them with Windows Vista. These products will make a great gift for the holidays that gets better with Windows Vista,” the spokesman said.
Products from ATI, Belkin, Computer Associates, Corel, D-Link, Fujifilm, Hauppage, Hewlett-Packard, Logitech, NetPro, Nero, Riverdeep, Seagate, Trendmicro, Viewsonic, Workshare, Yahoo and other companies are also expected to receive the “Certified for Windows Vista” logo over the next few months, further contributing to the growing Windows Vista ecosystem, he said.
NVIDIA GeForce GPUs (graphic processing units), which enable features in Windows Vista such as Windows Aero and Flip-3D, will carry the “Certified for Windows Vista” logo. “People can be truly confident that any products carrying the logo will provide a top-notch experience with their Windows Vista PCs,” Ujesh Desai, general manager of desktop GPUs at NVIDIA, said in a statement.
For his part, Steve Ro, CEO of InterVideo, whose WinDVD Creator offers a range of video and DVD editing features, said all the companys software will be certified to carry the logo so as to ensure the best multimedia experience on Vista PCs.
Consumers can now also buy new PC games, such as “Company of Heroes,” “Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy” and “Microsoft Flight Simulator X,” that will offer superior compatibility with Vista, as well as with Windows XP.
These games will bear the “Games for Windows” logo and meet certain requirements, such as the ability to work with x64 versions of Vista and support the Windows Vista Games Explorer function.
In related news, Attachmates Extra X-treme v9 host access solution has achieved the “Certified for Windows Vista” branding. This terminal emulation software securely connects Windows users to IBM, Unix and OpenVMS applications.
Extra X-treme 9 is expected to be released in early November, the same month that Microsoft expects to make Vista available to its business volume-license customers, and is designed to seamlessly integrate with, and take advantage of, the enhanced security, manageability and productivity features within the new Vista operating platform, Eric Varness, Attachmates vice president of marketing, said in a statement.