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As devices get smarter they tend to become multifunction, so a device with three functions may appear as three devices in Windows today, and that might give end users trouble making it work,” said Gary Schare, director of hardware ecosystem product management at Microsoft.

DeviceStage provides a single interface to any features on a system linked to a Windows PC. OEMs can use the facility by supplying metadata to Windows 7, or if they prefer they can create their own client software to create a more detailed and customized user interface to the device.

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We leave it to their imagination what kinds of user experiences they want to supply,” said Schare.

In a WinHEC demo, Microsoft showed DeviceStage working on a Windows 7 PC with a Canon SD990 digital camera and a Nokia N95 smart phone.

We have been working closely with Microsoft to help ensure compatibility and connectivity between our smart phone software S60 on Symbian OS and Windows 7,” said Eero Kukko, head of S60 platform marketing at Nokia.

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Brother, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and Sony also expressed support for DeviceStage.

Separately, with Windows 7 users can now get on cellular data networks using the same interface Windows XP currently supports for finding and accessing Wi-Fi nets.

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In the past you had to install a whole different software stack to connect to those [cellular modems],” Schare said. Now you just plug the card in and [the cellular data net] shows up in your 'View Available Networks'” box, he added.

Separately, Windows Server 2008 Release 2 will use a new concept of groups to expand beyond support for 64 processor cores. Each group will include up to 64 logical cores, typically on a single chip or group of chips physically close to each other. Microsoft released at WinHEC a technical paper describing the new approach.

LONDON — ST-NXP Wireless, the wireless chip group formed six months ago by STMicroelectronics and NXP has announced plans to cut its workforce by 500 and to take a $50 million restructuring charge.

The company says that with today's market outlook appearing quite different than it did just a few months ago, ST-NXP Wireless is taking necessary action to adapt its R&D resources and cost structure to the new business conditions in the industry.”

The product portfolio and anticipated development efforts of the combined company are being rationalized”.

ST–NXP says the job losses will be from both full time staff and subcontractors. Currently the combined group employs 7,500 people.

In a statement Thursday (Nov. 6) the company said this headcount reduction and the progressive termination of transitional services purchased from its non-consolidating parent are targeting, under an accelerated timeline, the approximately $250 million of cost savings anticipated at the time of the merger’s announcement. Restructuring charges are anticipated in the range of $50 million, mostly accrued in ST-NXP Wireless and ST’s consolidated balance sheet at the end of September 2008.”

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