Microsoft's much-vaunted Windows 7 may hit the shelves on 22 October, but there are mixed feelings about the new operating system within the IT industry.
While those who have tested Microsoft’s beta and release candidate versions of the operating system have been impressed and have had good things to say about it, there are still those sceptics who believe that the issues that plagued Windows Vista will come crawling out of the woodwork within weeks of the new platform’s release.
“What actually pans out remains to be seen,” says Othelo Vieira, Acer notebook product manager at Tarsus Technologies. “Windows 7 does, however, have the ability to change the client-side operating system landscape once and for all because it’s as capable on netbook hardware as it is on notebook and desktop computer hardware."
He adds that the final frontier, though, is the mobile smart phone space.
“Microsoft is making interesting moves in this space too,” Vieira says, “suggesting that we might well see Windows 7 evolving into a platform that’s capable of being run on every version of users’ hardware, from their cellular handset to their ultra-light mobile computer, their standard notebook computer and a desktop computer located at the office or in their home.
“People might ask why this is such an important thing,” Vieira says. “For starters, having a single operating system platform means that applications can easily be migrated from one device to another, without the need for extensive recoding and porting.
“Secondly, this approach allows for greater hardware innovation. In the coming years we could well see the lines between notebooks, netbooks and smartphones becoming even more blurred.
“This will depend entirely on the operating systems available to manufacturers and, of course, the drivers or hardware support that’s available," Vieira says. “The more widespread the adoption of Windows 7, the more likely this is to take place.
“For the moment, however, companies such as us are happy with the fact that an alternative to the ageing Windows XP Home is on the way for netbooks,” he adds.
Besides the fact that it offers a substantial facelift in UI when compared to Windows XP, there are a number of advantages that Windows 7 brings to the mobile computing realm, like easier networking setup, better memory management and, of course, a less bloated installation image which takes up less disk space – something that’s of critical importance on a netbook.
“Even though Microsoft hasn’t officially announced that Windows 7 will be available for netbooks, it makes good sense that the move to the new platform takes place during the course of next year,” Vieira says. “In fact I would argue that it’s one of the most valuable decisions that Microsoft can make over the coming year.”