Animated wallpapers have been one of the "Extras" that Microsoft has touted as a selling point for customers of its priciest Windows Vista SKU. But now Stardock is bringing animated wallpapers to the Vista masses.
Stardock, a Gold Certified Microsoft partner, worked with Microsoft on DreamScene -- a desktop-display feature that allows users to make looped, full-motion video their desktop wallpaper (as opposed to using static images only for background wallpaper). After a number of delays, Microsoft finally released DreamScene in September 2007. Stardock helped to create much of the initial wallpaper content for DreamScene and then went on to release DeskScapes 1.0 for Vista Ultimate users interested in enhancing DreamScene.
With DeskScapes 2.0, Stardock has decided to make animated wallpapers avaialble to users of Vista Business, Home Premium and Ultimate users. The Standard edition of the product will be available as a free download; an enhanced version with additional features and "premium" content also will be availbale for $19.95.
Stardock plans to provide more information about its DeskScapes 2.0 plans on November 14, and to release a beta version of the technology "shortly," company officials said. The final DeskScapes 2.0 release will be ready by February 2008, according to Stardock.
Stardock emphasizes that DeskScapes, though animated, use virtually no CPU power. Users will be able to configure the performance of animated wallpapers based on their system requirements. Settings are so granular that users will be able to have their wallpapers change, based on the time of day, and configure dynamic "dreams" independently.
Microsoft has said it plans to continue to release new premium "Extras" to entice users to buy premium versions of Windows. Looks like the company will have to look beyond animated wallpapers, now that Stardock is leveling the playing field in that area.