Microsoft is busy laying the groundwork for an interim release of Windows XP which would arrive before the Longhorn wave hits store shelves. Known internally as XP 'Reloaded', the interim release is expected to include the functionality of the upcoming Service Pack 2 revision, as well as some extras exclusive to the upgrade.
When asked for comment, a company spokesperson told BetaNews, "Microsoft is examining ways to continue to add value to the current Windows XP platform. We look forward to outlining all the details, but at this time we don't have anything to announce."
"Right now we are very focused on delivering that value in the form of Windows XP Service Pack 2, which is due in the first half of this year," said the spokesperson.
Windows XP Service Pack 2 delivers significant security enhancements to the operating system in response to broad criticism over several flaws in its design that left customers vulnerable to malware and hackers.
In response, Microsoft began a comprehensive review of its coding practices dubbed the Trustworthy Computing initiative. As a result of this endeavor, Windows XP Service Pack 2 modifies XP by adding a new version of Internet Explorer, e-mail safeguards, overhauled memory protection, and a more functional firewall enabled by default.
To makes sense out of all this new functionality, Microsoft has introduced the Windows XP Security Center.
Redmond also intends to upgrade the Media Center and Tablet PC editions of Windows XP later this year.