Symantec announced at its Next@Norton event that it will be moving to version-less software for its consumer products in the coming months, with new features deployed to customers, without the need to upgrade to a new version.
Over recent years, Norton products have been subject to an annual update. In order to access new features, users needed to upgrade each year. However, the payment system was clunky and updates to the software required a reboot, according to the company.
Under the new model, features will be "shipped" to users, as they become available. The features will automatically install and be active without a reboot or any other intervention.
The ability to do this comes through Symantec's new Reboot Manager that will ship with Windows 8; Microsoft has allowed third party software developers to hook into Reboot Manager. The new model will apply to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) versions of Norton software, which ship with new computers.
In the future, the company could even stop shipping software on CDs. Boxed copies of Norton products may only provide a downloader, so that customers are assured that they get the most recent release of the software.
Symantec is also claiming that this next generation of security software will improve the performance of Windows 8 systems that are running Defender — Microsoft's new in-built security system.
Turning off Defender and using Norton would give systems a kick, according to Symantec's head of development Collin Davis, who said that "we add less overhead than Defender does", although he did not provide an specific metrics.
At the same event, Norton also announced a new Hotspot Privacy application and service that will be rolled out later this year. Initially, it will be released for iOS, OS X and Windows, and provide a secure VPN connection when hooking up to the internet from public Wi-Fi hotpsots.
The supporting infrastructure will be initially deployed in the United States and United Kingdom in the second half of this year, with other regions to follow.
Anthony Caruana travelled to the Next@Norton event in San Francisco, California, as a guest of Symantec.