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Windows Roadmap Includes Six OS Releases

Opening day of the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference yesterday featured a newly minted outline of the Windows operating system roadmap, peeks at concept PCs and other consumer electronics devices of the future.

If you thought the next major rev of the Microsoft Windows operating system was the successor to Windows XP code named Longhorn, executives at WinHEC would make you think again. There will be at least six operating system releases before Longhorn, according to the company's short-range operating systems product roadmap as discussed by Group Vice President for the Platforms Group Jim Allchin.

The first product on Allchin's 2004 slide wasn't technically an OS, but a service pack -- Windows XP Service Pack 2 with Advanced Security Technologies.

Windows XP SP2 focuses on making the user experience "safe," Allchin said. It blocks pop-ups, avoids "drive-by downloads," has better intrusion detection, and has safer e-mail and instant messaging. For example, it won't auto run a .exe file when it's opened in an e-mail attachment. "Accidental exposure will drop," he said.

Also on the 2004 operating system roadmap chart were: Windows XP Tablet PC, Portable Windows Media Center, Windows CE 5.0, Windows Media Center XP Support for Media Center Extender, Smart Phone Pocket PC, and Windows XP 64-bit Edition for 64-bit Extended Systems.

After XP, "the next huge wave is the media center," Allchin said. "Just across the board making huge advances in terms of the media experience."

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