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Summary:

Microsoft’s successor to Vista just might be better for mobile devices, which might clear up that whole “ULCPC” brouhaha. Of course, it’s way too early to tell how Windows 7 will perform on lesser smaller hardware but the tea leaves are there for the reading. Gone […]

Windows7logoMicrosoft’s successor to Vista just might be better for mobile devices, which might clear up that whole “ULCPC” brouhaha. Of course, it’s way too early to tell how Windows 7 will perform on lesser smaller hardware but the tea leaves are there for the reading. Gone from 7 will be an included application for email, photo editing and video creation. Now at first glance, a consumer may complain with “but we’re getting less functionality in the OS!” I’m taking a strangely similar and yet different approach by saying “woot! We’re letting the OS be just an OS!”Put simply: it’s becoming a web-based world. We can debate the speed at which the transformation is taking place, but by-and-large with some exceptions, you’re watching it happen. Microsoft wisely agrees through their actions: in Windows 7, they’ll point you to their Windows Live services to offer functionality caused by removal of the desktop apps. There in the clouds, they can improve the system speedily. In fact, they can improve the desktop environment faster as well. Online, they can make one change to a Windows Live service and it becomes globally available. On the desktop, there’s less for them to manage so they have an opportunity to build more frequent and more focused upgrades.With less “in” the OS, I’m hoping for a more positive mobile environment on netbooks and notebooks in general. Hopefully we can get the sleep and resume nailed down to be faster too. Instant on for a full computer in sleep mode is a near reality and a must for mobile devices in the future.

  1. In an article I read earlier, someone from MS was quoted as saying you can still download the app and install it if you like. It’s just not going to be pre-installed.

    There was also vague mention that it could make things better for partners that might be involved. (Whatever that is supposed to mean.)

    What I’d like to know is if the manufacturers will do away with the crapware on their machines? You can’t buy an HP laptop of any sort without at least MS Works on it. MS Works on a 2730P? WTF HP!!!

    Woadan

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  2. You must have misunderstood this Kevin because the Live replacements are client applications, not cloud applications. You can download and install them now if you like as most of them have been out for a while. These aren’t web-based and to all intents and purposes they just replace the existing built-in apps with like-for-like features but make it easier to do things like upload photos to Flickr or bideos to YouTube.

    The idea behind this is that the Windows Live team can be responsible for developing these apps and role out frequent updates independently of OS releases. This also frees up the OS team to concentrate on the OS to speed up Windows releases. Various sources at Microsoft have said that they want the Windows Live developers to really improve their client software.

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  3. Windows Live Mail is a disaster on small screens, as detailed at http://www.segal.org/tablet/live/. If this is not fixed it will be a big blow to Windows being used on small screens.

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  4. GoodThings2Life Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    I don’t view this as a bad thing at all.

    The services will still be free via download, and will be offered on the opening “Welcome to Windows” screen.

    This allows Microsoft to satisfy two issues:

    1) They can now provide updates to the apps any time they want rather than just when OS updates come out (if then), and they can be deployed easier to multiple versions of Windows.

    2) It reduces the anti-trust issues and oversight regulation. This should satisfy the whiners that claim inclusion of these programs is anti-competitive.

    Bonus Reason 3) Many would argue that it’s not less filling at all but instead it’s “less bloated.”

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  5. GoodThings2Life Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    @Mickey Segal:

    Until recently I used a tablet with 1024*768 or 768*1024 in slate view. I am an avid Windows Live Mail user since I have 2 live.com accounts, and yet I’ve been quite happy with the screen real-estate usage of the program, even in slate mode. I just put the preview pane on the bottom instead of right.

    The rest of your grievances are valid but only as a priority of user preference and while I realize that they may frustrate you, they are not issues that I would prioritize as “high priority” if I were on the development team… especially when the norm these days is higher resolution, and you’d be hard pressed in current generation tablets to find something lower than 800*1280 in portrait use.

    Now, UMPC’s are another matter, however, and I would welcome the “small screen” option you suggest on your site for that form factor.

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  6. Jake, it’s entirely possible that I’m reading too much into it. Here’s my thought. When I use Windows Live Mesh, I have an installed client to use the web service. When there’s an update to the client, I can’t use it until I upgrade. Microsoft controls what version is on my device, so they can still “force” the one change out to many even though the app is installed on tons of devices. I see this is a combo of web and desktop app; I realize that many of the Live services use a downloadable client.

    The other benefit as pointed out by folks: this makes it easier for consumer to remove potential Windows bits that they don’t want. Yup, Add/Remove programs works fine, but I keep thinking back to the hidden bits in the “Add/Remove Windows Components” dialog as well.

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  7. @GoodThings2Life: The big problems are with the small screens. On 800 x 600 Windows Live Mail is terrible, and I can only imagine what it is like on 800 x 480.

    Maybe Microsoft will address the small screen issue, or maybe they won’t. If they don’t they are surrendering to disruptive innovations such as the iPhone and Android which will move upmarket.

    In the old days there were lots of ways of bringing these issues right to decision makers at Microsoft and they got them fixed quickly. Now that the first generation of engineers is gone it is a different situation. It is sad – those were exciting days. Hopefully Microsoft will figure out how to rejuvenate themselves for the mobile market, but Clay Christensen’s work on disruptive technology suggests that others are more likely to be nimble.

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