Gates emphasizes PC-phone connectivity in Windows 7

Gates emphasizes PC-phone connectivity in Windows 7

Summary: 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.


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?

Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • phone-pc communication--a step backwards

    I admit that windows synchronization between phone (or win mobile) and the PC needs to become more seamless and reliable. But by today's standards, the only reason it needs to happen is for media synchronization, which Win Media Player does a decent job of doing already. With more and more wireless data plans being purchased by consumers, and with the increasingly better speeds of those (e.g. 3G), shouldn't the attention go towards advances in seamless server synchronization of PDA data via wireless transmission? The days of syncing and maintaining local hard disk data are numbered. Even back when yahoo had Y!go 1.0, mobile device data server sync was virtually flawless and it seemed that the highway was paved for the future of sync. Then yahoo became a cannibal. With the brilliant idea of catering to the masses who had no smartphone or PPC platform, they blew the whole thing out of the water with the release of Y!go 2.0. and subsequent dismantling of PDA data server sync.
    BG's intentions are cute, but are misguided.
    • re: sync

      "The days of syncing and maintaining local hard disk data are numbered."

      Umm, I hate to break it to you, but with the demand for cloud computing increasing, syncing will become more important than ever, especially if offline use is desired.
      • re: sync

        I agree it is more important than ever. What I mean is that for the sake of seamlessness and data preservation, there needs to be another kind of sync equation.
        BG's equation looks like this:
        Phone data + PC link + PC sync software = synchronized data on one of your PC's.
        A better equation is:
        Phone data + wireless network sync + secure server = always up to date, secure synchronized data accessible anywhere.
        • MeshMeshMesh

          My impression is that Gates is still talking about Live Mesh, specifically the planned Live Mesh client for Windows Mobile, which would allow the direct-to-the-cloud sync and offline capabilities that both of you are talking about.

          I'd point you to a pretty diagram if I could find one, but irony of ironies, is down.
    • And, the sync should be with the cloud, not a PC. This is Gates trying to

      keep Windows relevant. They will TRY to make it so you have to have Windows to sync your phone. They will at least have SOME success with this.
      • it is with the cloud

        Live Mesh syncs with the cloud (live desktop), and is optional with the PC, and will be synced to mobile devices, Macs, etc.
    • Isn't Gates talking about using cell phones to ...

      ... easily connect up Windows PCs to the Internet? Also, mesh as about synchronizing data among a number of PCs (including Macs) and devices. It is not just a Windows Mobile phone to PC synch technology. Also, Yahoo! Go appears to be some kind of user interface to Internet related stuff. I don't see where it is about synchronizing data among several devices across the Internet.
      P. Douglas
    • Syncing other than comm-related stuff

      On my phone, my syncing is not limited to communications-related stuff, contacts, emails, etc., that could be server-centric. As long as we store stuff locally on our computers, that stuff will need to be synced to our phones, particularly as phones become more powerful and more capable.

      I need to sync Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, and an encrypted data store (that is handled by its own sync software to get around ActiveSync limitations and provide transaction-level control). I would like to sync Access databases, but unfortunately, MS decided to remove that ability some six years ago.

      Right now, even between a single PC and a wired link to my phone, my syncing is limited to entire files (which may be difficult to avoid) and only in a single folder on each. Which cannot be on a memory card on the phone side, leaving it vulnerable to a phone software glitch.
  • Pure Marketing Speak

    Just goes to show that there has been no change at Microsoft. Still pursuing the lock-in to proprietary products, and still announcing products years in advance to spread FUD. Looking more and more like rigor mortis has set in.
    • I like to call it dangling the carrot ...

      Get everyone following the carrot and then as it starts to get closer to time to deliver then start pulling features. They have done this since the days of DOS, especially DOS 5.0 when multitasking DOS was promised and then pulled at the last minute (This is the time I stopped being a Microsoft fan.)
      • It is standard MS modus operandi

        And it isn't working anymore. 2010?!? Who's going to wait
        that long? By 2010, there won't be any Windows Mobile
        devices anymore. It will be all Blackberry and iPhone.
        • By then Android will also be big, along with other Linux phones.

          And, they will be syncing with the cloud, NOT a Windows box.
          • I agree, MS needs to move faster

            The mobile market is changing quickly and there is a lot of competition.

            Of course, you also need a good hardware design. Good software isnt enough.
        • RE:It is standard MS modus operandi

          "It will be all Blackberry and iPhone. "

          You mean in U.S.A,right ?
          Because Blackberry is almost unsignificant worldwide and it will certainly remain the same for the years to come.
          Wordlwide there will be Symbian,Windows mobile and perhaps Android as the main actors. I somehow doubt that iPhone become significant in the smartphones market worldwide before way after 2010.
    • Like Apple? NT

  • RE: Gates emphasizes PC-phone connectivity in Windows 7

    Sweet! Windows 7 is going to be awesome when it is released. The more I read about it the more excited I get. I want to get my hands on a copy of the betas when they are released. That is the good thing about Microsoft and the Windows platform, each new version just improves on the previous one making it a more user friendly experience for the customer. File sync, security, stability, there its all overwhelming. Great leaders have great visions which become realities. Bill Gates is a great leader.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Your Joking, Right?

      "...each new version just improves on the previous one..."

      All that gushing sounds so fake it's funny! On what planet is Vista better than Windows XP?
      • No

        On planet Earth. How is XP so much better than Vista? Try using your own reasoning instead of something you read on slashdot.
        Loverock Davidson
        • Ok...

          Here is my reasoning:

          * Vista is a resource Hog

          * Vista runs slower than XP

          * Vista is just as insecure as Windows 2000 was at this point in its lifecycle.

          * From personal use of Windows Vista SP1, it is still repleat with bugs and performance issues

          * Almost every company out there refuses to adopt Vista because of it's problems (including GM)

          * If securiry in Vista is supposed to annoy the **** out of me, then I don't want Vista

          Need more?...
          • re: ok

            I agreed very much on all these of your statement coz i feel the same.. XD