Microsoft is to release a test version of Longhorn this April, ahead of the formal launch of the next major version of its Windows operating system in mid-2006.
Developers who attend Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (Winhec) 25-27 April in Seattle will receive the software as part of the company’s plan to win over the development community in advance of Longhorn’s commercial launch.
Microsoft said, "This year, Winhec focuses on the next version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn. Attendees will receive an updated developer preview build of Windows Longhorn."
Developers at the conference will focus on areas such as hardware requirements for Longhorn, Longhorn integration with mobile devices, and the timeline for Longhorn customer awareness.
A beta version of Longhorn is expected for wider consumption this summer. Last autumn Microsoft scaled back some of the features it had originally planned for Longhorn.