Device Stage is one of those clever Windows 7 new capabilities that you might miss if no one told you about them. Device Stage makes connecting all of your peripherals, phones, and devices to your Windows 7 PC a cinch. For educators and students, this will be a boon.
Think of all of the LCD projectors that have been purchased throughout your institution. Now that you have that visual, do your faculty know where any of the manuals for the projectors are? If you are like most people, probably not.
Now think about the printers you put in to reduce paper, ink, energy, and maintenance costs. That multi-function printer has a lot of capabilities like color, scan-to-mail, duplex (double-sided) printing, or stapling. However, no one knows about it. Whether its a LCD projector, printer, camera, mouse, or something new; the Device Stage makes it easy for Windows 7 faculty, staff, and students to know what the technology is capable of doing.
Below I have a Device Stage from my Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse. This was auto-updated by Microsoft. I didn’t install any software or drivers for this particular mouse. When my Windows 7 PC is docked, this is the mouse I use. Windows 7 pulls XML files from Microsoft.com to give me updated information about my mouse.
Device Stage works for networked devices like printers. Here’s the Device Stage for our Xerox color copier and printer at our Microsoft Offices. Here you can see it’s branded by Xerox with information pulled from their website. This information is available even though I’m not connected to corporate network.
Some devices will even produce a generic Device Stage when the manufacturer hasn’t published any data to the Device Stage web service. This provides you the basic tasks and status available for the device.
You can access the Device Stage by pressing the Windows button and Selecting Devices and Printers. The photo-realistic icons of your devices will appear here. If your devices have been updated, you can simply double-click the icon to open the Device Stage. If it is not updated, you will see the default properties window.
Above, all of my Device Stage samples were acquired prior to Windows 7. New Windows 7 devices will take advantage of the stage as well. As you purchase future devices, look for the Windows 7 logo on the box.
Higher Education engineering programs should consider incorporating the Windows Hardware Specifications for the Device Stage into the curriculum so that students design and build for both usability and environmental sustainability with the Windows Device Stage.
Leave a comment below on any interesting devices and Devices Stages you connected to your Windows 7 PC!