Improved collaboration and connectivity between Windows PCs and cell phones is going to get a major shot in the arm with Windows 7, according to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.
During a speech for members of the Windows Digital Lifestyle Consortium in Tokyo last week, Gates referred a few times to Windows 7, the next version of Windows which Microsoft has said will ship in 2010. Gates highlighted improvements to Windows 7's lower power and memory requirements that are in the works. But he also played up extensively during his speech the new connectivity between mobile phones and Windows which will be introduced as part of the release.
From a transcript of Gates' remarks:
"We're hard at work, I would say, on the next version, which we call Windows 7. I'm very excited about the work being done there. The ability to be lower power, take less memory, be more efficient, and have lots more connections up to the mobile phone, so those scenarios connect up well to make it a great platform for the best gaming that can be done, to connect up to the thing being done out on the Internet, so that, for example, if you have two personal computers, that your files automatically are synchronized between them, and so you don't have a lot of work to move that data back and forth."
The file synchronization capability to which Gates refers is the Live Mesh collaboration/synchronization platform/service which Microsoft recently unveiled. But Gates made it sound like there's something beyond Mesh that could be in the works for Windows 7. Again, from the transcript:
"We're also a participant in building software for the mobile phones, and our proposition is to build a great mobile operating system, but also to have it be the one that connects best to the Windows PCs. So we're working hard on both of those things....
"For a customer there are going to be phones with larger screens, and PCs with smaller screens. In fact, there will be even an overlap, but I think the key for us is to drive all the applications, and let the user move easily back and forth. Our best customers are going to have a great mobile phone, and they're going to have a great personal computer. And if we don't make those scenarios work well together, that will hold back both of those markets."
Gates also told the audience that Microsoft is going to deliver a "major new version of Windows" every two to three years. (A caveat: Gates also said not too long ago that Microsoft would deliver a new version of Internet Explorer every 9 to 12 months. IE 7 shipped in October 2006; we're still only at Beta 1 for IE 8.)
What's your take? What kinds of new features in Windows 7 -- and Windows Mobile 7, allegedly due out in 2009 -- might improve PC-to-mobile connectivity and what kinds of applications/services would benefit?