Redmond (WA) – As promised by Microsoft, the first public beta of Windows 7 was released to the public morning. That is, of course, if you were able to access the download page. Apparently, both the Windows 7 download page and the microsoft.com homepage surrendered to an enormous number of download requests.
Early reviews of Windows 7 features ahead of CES, based on developer seeds, were generally positive. Windows 7 promises to bring a more efficient code base, better performance and smaller memory footprint than bloated Vista, even on average hardware. Microsoft executives have showcased Windows 7 running on a typical netbook without a glitch. Think of Windows 7 as a giant Vista patch and as the operating system Vista should have been.
In addition to the built-in support for touchscreens with iPhone-like pinch-zoom gestures, Windows 7 features a brand new taskbar with live thumbnail previews of running tasks, a Play To feature that enables users to easily stream music, photos and videos to any network-enabled media player in a home, Device Stage that collects all device-related features in a simplified user interface and Home Groups that lets users create home networks more easily.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at the CES 2009 keynote that Windows 7 is now feature-complete. He said that the operating system has "all the right ingredients - simplicity, reliability, and speed," with a strong emphasis on performance, reliability, security, compatibility and battery life. Although Ballmer did not provide an exact Windows 7 release date and Microsoft in general sticks to the original early 2010 release date, ZDNet noted that the public beta will expire in August, based on the software's EULA, meaning that a Q3 or Q4 release is very likely.