I just returned from the Windows 7 launch. Of course, the new operating system's touchscreen capability was a major theme. But one thing that struck me about Steve Ballmer's speech was his emphasis on Win 7's media capabilities. Microsoft has partnered with CBS to stream TV shows to Windows 7 computers and Toshiba has a new HDTV compatible with the operating system coming out this fall. Amazon is also launching a new Kindle app for Windows 7 PCs.
After the keynote speech, I went over to the SMB demo area to check out the Windows 7 Professional Edition, which costs $199 for an upgrade and $299 for a new package. Here's a rundown of some of the coolest features for business users:
Printer Connectivity: The new OS allows users to set default printers for different networks (for example, office and home) so your computer automatically prints to the correct location.
Presentation Settings: To prevent embarrassing technical glitches during presentations, Windows 7 lets users adjust settings beforehand to shut off notifications, set volume, and change the computer's background screen. It also lets you turn off your screen saver so your computer won't go blank during a presentation.
Projector Settings: Before, Windows users had to navigate through a projector wizard to manage projector settings. Windows 7 has four large projector icons that let you easily disconnect the projector, project your computer screen, project two computer screens, and leave your computer screen blank while projecting an image.
Back-Up: Win 7 Professional lets users schedule regular back-ups of the entire computer.
Compatibility with XP: The Win 7 Professional Edition also allows users to open XP applications that are not compatible with the new OS.
Touch Capabilities: Touch capability varies by computer. The demo I saw was performed on a Lenovo Thinkpad X2000 convertible tablet, on which users can rearrange icons with a press of the finger, open programs, take a "peek" at the desktop, and "shake" a window to make other windows disappear and reappear.
For a round-up of new tablets, notebooks, and netbooks that make the most of Windows 7's touch capabilities, check out The Goods section in the upcoming November issue of Inc.