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A GUIDE TO WINDOWS VISTA
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Windows SideShow is a new technology that lets Windows Vista drive auxiliary, small displays of various form-factors where ready-access to bite-size bits of information could be imagined. These include displays embedded on the outside of a laptop lid or on a detachable device, enabling access to information and media even when the main system is in a standby mode. Data can also be displayed on cell phones and other network-connected devices via Bluetooth and other connectivity options.
The display can be updated with a number of different kinds of information, such as contacts, maps, calendar, and email. This can then be consulted while the mobile PC is otherwise powered down. Since the underlying platform is so power-efficient, it can run for hundreds of hours without draining a notebook battery, while still providing always-on access to data and multimedia content.
SideShow is coupled to the Windows Vista Sidebar--that is, Microsoft Gadgets can easily be extended to be compatible with SideShow secondary displays. However, hardware and silicon providers can also provide native capabilities to allow for richer multimedia applications such as text, image, audio and video decode/playback. For example, a notebook with an in-lid display could be used as an MP3 player while powered down, with the notebook battery providing hundreds of hours of playback time because of the low power footprint that the SideShow platform maintains.
A Windows SideShow gadget is written by programming against the Windows SideShow Platform API, a native COM-based API available with the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. A beta of a managed API has also been released for separate download.
Windows SideShow devices have different hardware characteristics than devices such as cell phones or PDAs. Windows SideShow devices have their own processor; they do not have to solely rely on the connecting computer for processing tasks. There are online and offline capabilities that allow the device to run larger components on the connecting computer. The following list contains typical device display types and technologies.
Hardware-specific, native applications that provide rich-media experiences like audio and video playback that can be accessed through the SideShow user interface require the SDK from the specific platform vendor. For example, PortalPlayer, Inc. provides the Preface platform that includes capabilities like MP3, AAC, MPEG-4 encode / decode and other digital media formats.