Windows 7 introduces a new way to interact with your phone, camera, printer, or portable media player from the Windows desktop. Device Stage is new visual interface that makes it easy to find the things you want to do with your devices on your Windows 7 PC. You could think of Device Stage as a multi-function version of Autoplay where it displays all the applications, services, and information related to your device. Device Stage not only works for devices connected to a Windows 7 PC via USB, but also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well. In many cases, software installation isn’t required for Device Stage – with any additional drivers that might be needed automatically retrieved from Windows Update.
Device Stage is customized by the device manufacturer and specific to the devices you own. During Steve Ballmer’s keynote at CES tonight, the Nikon D90 was shown via IE8 during the Windows 7 demo showcasing the “Snap To” feature. They used the Nikon D90 because it is a device that works great with Windows 7 today. Part of working great with Windows 7 is that the Nikon D90 also supports Device Stage. When a Nikon D90 is plugged in to a Windows 7 PC, you can see how Nikon customized Device Stage specifically for the D90.
As I mentioned, Device Stage displays all the applications, services and information related to your device. In the case of the Nikon D90, Device Stage presents to the user the ability to import photos and videos off the device, browse files on the device, take advantage of the service from Nikon called my Picturetown, launch Nikon’s Nikon Transfer application, and get support or order accessories for the D90. You’ll notice Device Stage also displays how much battery life is left on the Nikon D90 as well as how much storage is left too.
Because Device Stage is a way of extending the features of Windows 7 to expose device capabilities, it also supports the use of Jump Lists via the new Windows Taskbar.
When a device is plugged in that supports Device Stage, it appears on the new Windows Taskbar in Windows 7 as an icon of the actual device. To quickly access all that is offered through Device Stage for that specific device, you can right-click on the device on the taskbar to see all the Device Stage options. You’ll notice for the D90, the Jump List displays everything shown in Device Stage for the device.
Simply moving your mouse over the device on the Windows Taskbar also gives you a quick glance at battery life and storage capacity.
In the next couple days I’ll be talking about Device Stage a bit more – highlighting different experiences Device Stage provides for different device types from different device manufacturers.
In the Windows 7 Beta, you will be able to experience Device Stage for yourself! I know folks will be wondering what devices will support Device Stage for the Windows 7 Beta too – click here for that device list!