In just over a month, the world will say a fond farewell to Windows XP and begin to embrace its plucky upstart of a sibling: Vista. You could be forgiven for wanting to shun Vista -- after all, XP works just fine -- but Crave is convinced you'll be gagging for a taste of the new OS once you see what's going to be unveiled at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Top of our list of Vista funk is the Windows ReadyDrive feature, which takes advantage of hybrid disk drives that use traditional magnetic platters as well as solid state non-volatile flash memory. The magnetic portion of the drive is used for storing your files, the solid state portion is used to increase system performance -- it'll help you boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, preserve battery power in laptops and improve disk reliability. We're expecting hybrid hard drives from Samsung and Seagate at CES, so we'll definitely be on hand to see how these babies perform.
Next in the Vista coolness stakes is SideShow. We caught a brief glimpse of this technology on the Asus W5Fe laptop back in August and we've been gagging for it ever since. SideShow lets your laptop take advantage of a secondary or auxiliary display, where the second screen can be used to view specific information. Info such as appointments, recent email addresses, phone numbers and addresses can be shown on the external screen without having to start up the laptop -- wasting time and battery power in the process. We reckon we'll see a tonne of new SideShow laptops at CES. Word on the street is that Dell will be showing off at least one of these devices, and we wouldn't be surprised if we saw SideShow cropping up in standalone monitors and in desktop PCs as well.
ReadyBoost should also throw up a few cool products. Remember when you used to have to rip your PC open to add new memory? Those days are numbered -- ReadyBoost lets you use an ordinary USB key or memory card as system memory. Our friends in the Vista testing community have used their dusty old iPod Shuffles to increase RAM, and we're expecting a gang of high-speed ReadyBoost-certified USB keys to be on hand at CES.
You may think your current display will cope fine when Vista rolls around, but did you know you'll need a widescreen monitor with HDCP support to make the most of the new OS (to watch Blu-ray or HD DVD movies, for example)? You do now. BenQ has already made waves by announcing a pair of new monitors -- one with 'Works with Vista' certification, and the other an HDCP-capable model with 'Windows Vista Premium' certification. We're expecting monitor manufacturers to be clambering over themselves to gain certification, with the first batch of newly accredited products showing up at CES.
We could talk forever and a day about the potential new products that'll show up at CES -- like XPS printers, or DirectX 10 games and applications -- but we'll save some of the surprises for the show. Make sure you check out CNET.co.uk in the lead-up to the show, which begins on 8 January, for more Vista coolness. -RR