During last night's opening CES keynote, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked much about Windows 7 and how it would be the world's best operating system. Naturally, this is what he would say.
Ballmer confirmed that Windows 7 beta 1 is already in the wild, and we can also confirm that the leaked beta 1 that came out a few days ago, matches the build Microsoft is officially making available and testers--that is, build 7000.
Users who do get their hands on build 7000 will notice that the majority of the operating system's UI is fairly robust and refined. For those following Windows 7 pre-beta builds, most changes will not be interface changes, but instead be underlying core operating system changes. Microsoft indicated that its focus was on improving OS stability and speed, and judging from this major milestone build, we can tell that Microsoft is overall pleased with the UI as it stands now. Some minor features, like Windows 7's Aero Shake feature, is still unfinished.
Windows 7 will also come equipped to handle playback of DivX videos, and Silverlight--Microsoft's proprietary version of Flash--is also included.
We were able to spend several days with Windows 7 beta 1, and found that it certainly lived up to expectations. The system felt very stable and responsive, something that Vista could never deliver to us in terms of experience. Overall, we would say that even as a beta, Windows 7 beta 1 feels like a completed, ready to release, operating system--yes, it's that good.
More on Windows 7 beta 1 as we continue to play with it.