Windows® 7 offers new way of interacting with devices
Device Stage feature in Windows 7 offers a novel way to interact with devices and hardware attached to your system like phone, camera, printer, or portable media player from the Windows desktop.
Like a multi-function version of Autoplay, Device Stage displays all the applications, services, and information related to your device and makes it easy to find the things you want to do with your devices on your Windows 7 PC.
Apart from working for devices connected via USB, the tool functions for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well. In many cases, Device Stage does not need software installation – with any additional drivers that might be required automatically retrieved from Windows Update.
As a way of extending Windows 7 features to expose device capabilities, the feature also supports the use of Jump Lists via the new Windows Taskbar.
The tool is customized by the device manufacturer making it specific to the devices you own. Microsoft used a multifunction Canon device to demonstrate the feature. The company branded the banner area of the operating system with Canon, with icons in the bottom space for ordering ink and other printing supplies. It also displayed how a manufacturer can specify particular software for certain functions. Rather than the built in Windows Fax and Scan software, the Canon “Scan” task defaulted to the included Canon software.
The Device Stage is defined by XML files given by vendors. Microsoft claims that there will be some online repository of Device Stage definitions that can be retrieved automatically (like a driver) when you connect a new device.
A device supporting Device Stage, when connected, appears on the new Windows Taskbar in Windows 7 as an icon of the actual device. The user will have to right-click on the device on the taskbar to get all the Device Stage options. It can be noticed that for the D90, the Jump List shows everything displayed in the tool for the device.
Microsoft – which has unveiled a list of compatible hardware and only a handful of devices are currently supported – is in talks with several partners to ensure their devices are fully device stage compatible at the launch of Windows 7.