Thanks Jon for posting about this in our forums. Microsoft has reshuffled its roadmaps once again, and begun briefing partners and customers to expect an interim upgrade to Windows XP, dubbed XP "SE", in the first quarter of next year.
This buys more time for the Longhorn team to complete the complex task of implementing a native database file store, which Jon Honeyball first revealed to the world at The Register, last August. In January we exclusively confirmed that the native, SQL Server-derived database would go in Longhorn, with the Blackcomb release - originally earmarked for the transition - pushed out to 2004.
XP SE will be principally a consolidation release. Candidates for inclusion are the essential .NET client-side plumbing: the common language runtime (CLR), Internet Explorer 7.0 and DirectX 9.0, and a mature Bluetooth stack. Microsoft has blown hot and cold on Bluetooth - mostly cold, actually - but with chipsets at the $5 mark, it's going to be ubiquitious in PDAs and phones by 2003.
Microsoft has more to offer to offer in the consumer department, (and DirectX is essentially a consumer technology), and as we observed this week, the Mira tablet hinges on a multi-user, RDP-enabled XP acting as the server. Windows XP consumer edition doesn't come with XP, so this is one obvious area for improvement.
News source: The Register