Microsoft presented a plugin for PhotoShop to enable support for its HD Photo format. This new image format is supposed to be superior to JPEG in terms of quality and compression.
Microsoft has spent years developing HD Photo and hopes it will eventually replace the ubiquitous JPEG. Weisberg believes the first cameras supporting HD Photo will arrive in 12 to 18 months.
"Today's cameras can capture a lot more information than JPEG offers," Weisberg said. "It's getting a little long in the tooth."
HD Photo compresses images more efficiently, supports richer colors and can record subtler tonal detail, Microsoft argues. The company hopes to profit indirectly from HD Photo by encouraging customers to use Microsoft products that support it--Vista and its Photo Gallery software, for example, or Microsoft's Expression family of image-editing software.
HD Photo is built into Windows Vista, though in that product it goes by its earlier name, Windows Media Photo. In its attempt to spread the HD Photo as widely as possible, Microsoft changed to the more neutral HD Photo name, liberalized licensing terms and is seeking to make the file format an industry standard.