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Microsoft Unveils Windows Vista Product Lineup
Posted on 27-Feb-2006 22:29 | Filed under: News

Microsoft Corp. has announced the product lineup of its upcoming Windows Vista operating system, scheduled for release later during 2006.

The Windows Vista product lineup consists of six versions, two for businesses, three for consumers, and one for emerging markets: Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Starter.

The number of offerings is the same as the number of offerings currently available for Windows XP. The company says each product is tailored to meet specific needs of various segments of customers, segmented in home PC users, small and medium-sized businesses and the largest enterprises. Microsoft Windows Vista is also aimed at bringing 64-bit, Media Center and Tablet PC functionality into the mainstream.

Business customers can choose from two versions, based on the size and scale of their organizations. These are Windows Vista Business, an operating system designed for organizations of all sizes. Some of the features of Windows Vista Business include a new user interface, named Windows Aero, designed to deliver a productive, high-performing desktop experience. Windows Aero will provide a professional-looking, transparent glass design, with subtle effects such as dynamic reflections and smooth animations, along with Windows Flip and Flip 3D desktop navigation features.

Windows Vista Enterprise is another option for business customers and is designed to lower IT costs and risk. In addition to features available in Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise is designed to provide higher levels of data protection using hardware-based encryption technology. It will also include tools to improve application compatibility and will enable organizations to standardize on a single worldwide deployment image with the inclusion of all Windows user-interface languages. Windows Vista Enterprise will be available only to customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. Some of the specific Windows Vista Enterprise features are the Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption, and Virtual PC Express enabling a legacy application to run unchanged on a legacy Windows operating system in a virtual environment on top of Windows Vista Enterprise.

Consumers can choose from three versions for the home PC user, with a segmented feature set.

Windows Vista Home Basic is aiming at consumers who want to simply use the PC to browse the Internet, correspond with friends and family through e-mail or perform basic document creation and editing tasks, including features such as a new Search Explorer, Sidebar and Parental Controls.

Windows Vista Home Premium improves on the digital entertainment experiences, including photos, video, TV, movies, music and games. Windows Vista Home Premium includes everything in Windows Vista Home Basic, along with additional features and enhancements such as the new user interface Windows Aero, and integrated search throughout the operating system, helping customers organize and quickly find large collections of documents, pictures, movies, videos and music.

This version also includes Windows Media Center capabilities that allow consumers to to record and watch TV shows (even high-definition TV) and access new kinds of online entertainment content. It also provides the ability to connect Windows Vista Home Premium to Xbox 360, extending the Media Center experience to multiple rooms in the home.

Users running Windows Vista Home Premium will have an integrated DVD burning and authoring tool that allows the creation of personal videos photos and files on video or data DVDs.

The third option is the Windows Vista Ultimate. Windows Vista Ultimate is the edition of Windows Vista that has all features of the other three versions, bringing together all the entertainment features, mobility features and business-oriented features available in Windows Vista.

All new versions are available for either 32-bit or 64-bit systems, depending on the needs of the customer. Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate and Business will be available as a full-packaged product at retail and on new PCs. Windows Vista Enterprise will be offered only to business customers participating in Microsoft's Software Assurance program.

Microsoft also will offer Windows Vista Starter in emerging markets. Windows Vista Starter is designed to empower families and entry-level PC users in these markets. A 32-bit operating system designed specifically for lower-cost computers, Windows Vista Starter enables popular beginner PC activities and provides an easy-to-use and more affordable entry point to the Windows Vista family of products.

All versions of Windows Vista are scheduled to be broadly available in the second half of 2006.

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