For the upcoming Windows 7
operating system release, Microsoft
is polishing more than just the kernel itself. The company aims to ease interaction between you and your cell phone, printer, camera, and more, through a new feature called Device Stage.
Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc describes the technology pretty well on The Windows Experience Blog
, calling it a "new visual interface that makes it easy to find the things you want to do with your devices on your Windows 7 PC." With Device Stage, a photo-realistic picture of your gadget can live in your taskbar, providing one-click access to relevant apps, services, and information.
For Device Stage to work, Windows 7 loads a set of custom XML files (and possibly custom drivers) when you first connect a printer, scanner—whatever. And that's not just USB connections either; LeBlanc points out that Device Stage" works not only for devices connected to a Windows 7 PC via USB, but also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well. In many cases, software installation isn't required for Device Stage—with any additional drivers that might be needed automatically retrieved from Windows Update." Maybe in the final iteration things will work that smoothly, but it's proved a bit of a challenge for me so far.