HP delays MediaSmart Home Server

Gives Microsoft more time to fix and make small improvements to the Windows Home Server operating system

Hewlett-Packard says it's delaying the release of its HP MediaSmart Home Server by possibly months to give Microsoft more time to fix and make small improvements to the Windows Home Server operating system.

According to a statement issued by Microsoft, the company has "identified a number of ways to make the product even better since the initial release." Microsoft says the updates include fine tuning of the out-of-box experience with added prompts and dialogue boxes guiding consumers through the setup process. Other enhancements include more reliable remote server access, automatic router and firewall setting tools, and enhancements to synchronizing features.

HP claims that last minute bug hunting and tweaks by Microsoft are going to delay the release of its MediaSmart product by "75 to 120 days." HP says now the MediaSmart server will ship late fall in time for the holidays.

HP had hoped to announce product pricing and availability at the home theater trade show CEDIA on September 5 in Denver, Colorado. The MediaSmart was slated for release in late September, according to sources, and would have been one of the first Windows Home Server products from a major manufacturer.

In July Microsoft released Windows Home Server to manufacturers, giving them the green light to bring hardware products to market.

Although Microsoft has not officially given WHS a launch date, Microsoft senior product manager Joel Sider said in July the first hardware wave would probably hit in late September or early October. In January, when Microsoft unveiled WHS at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it said the software would roll out "in the back-to-school-ish time."

Microsoft worked with HP, Iomega, Gateway and other hardware partners to build home servers under various different brands. LaCie and Gateway say that the Microsoft's last-minute updates will not impact their rollout of hardware slated for sometime in 2008.

More information about Microsoft's update can be found on the Windows Home Server blog Friday morning, according to Microsoft.

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Tom Spring

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