This year, Microsoft arranged for the community leaders from the expertzone to be at the CES show in Las Vegas; this is because it co-incided with a closed door press event on Windows Vista , allowing us to give feedback on the status of Vista so far. Marcel Klum, Brad Wardell (representing both WinCustomize & Neowin) and I attended the event.
While much of what was discussed with Microsoft is under a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement), we can say that 2006 is going to be an interesting year for both the consumer and Microsoft. When Vista hits Beta 2, Microsoft have planned a Customer Preview version which will bring Vista to the masses of enthusiasts that were unable to get on the Beta, for the final stage of post lock-down of features and bug testing.
Sadly, the hotel we were staying in did not have an internet connection; despite Microsoft offering to install an internet solution, which the hotel declined -so we can't fault Microsoft there for trying. It is a shame, however, that in this day and age, not all hotels (even on the Las Vegas strip) will provide guests with a means to get online.
Brad Wardell did manage to Blog using a dial up connection / whenever he could at the event itself, so follow the links below to read those reports. We spent much of our time at the Windows Vista booth where they showcased the possibities of Windows Vista in the home, centralized on Media Center and Gaming. We can say that the build used (5270) looks pretty sharp and on that road to Beta 2 stability. There are still potholes, but Microsoft were aware of many issues we brought up, and seem confident to deliver in the first quarter of this year.
My general feeling is that Microsoft are relying on Beta tester feedback, and are very happy with the Microsoft Connect program. They attribute a lot of good ideas currently being implemented into Vista as a direct result from tester feedback, which should make any tester feel valued. Enjoy the blog posts, I will be adding my own this week and discussing some of the stuff we got up to in and out of the event.
Oh, almost forgot. Marcel and I were guests on the Neowin Podcast show, recorded at CES, that will be posted up beginning of the week.