Symantec Preps Norton 360 Beta

Version 2.0 of the product, set for testing in January, comes with a host of new tune-up and security features.

Symantec is prepping the launch of the beta version of the next Norton 360, and is arming it with a host of new features aimed at keeping users secure while allowing them to walk the tightrope between ease of use and granular control.

The beta of Norton 360 Version 2.0 includes a number of changes designed to make the product easier to use, such as new QuickTask Menus from the main user interface and streamlined navigational settings, company officials said. In the same vein, Symantec has expanded backup options to include support for Blu-Ray discs and iPods. Multiple PCs can also now be backed up to a shared driver as well.

Making the software easier to use was a key development theme, said Mark Kanok, Symantec's senior product manager of Norton 360. In fact, Symantec considers about one-third of all the users of the current version of Norton 360 to be technically advanced.

Version 2.0 also features a home network map that can be used to check the state of wireless security and map connected devices. Other enhancements were made around the product's tune-up capabilities, including a new diagnostic report to simplify system troubleshooting and the ability to clean unnecessary registry files to improve performance. The product also includes a secure password vault and form auto-fill to protect users against online fraud, and extends Web site authentication capabilities to Firefox.

The beta is slated for testing in early January, and ready for the market in the first quarter of 2008 for Windows XP and Vista.

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