The next version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn, will be called Vista, Microsoft has announced. Due next year, the operating system will be sold with the tagline: "Bringing clarity to your world."

The software giant also announced that the first beta of Windows Vista will be available on 3 August. That beta will only include some of Vista's promised new features, such as virtual folders and a new desktop search engine. It will not include much of the graphical user interface (GUI) changes of the finished product, said Greg Sullivan, a group product manager with Windows Client for Microsoft.

The "look and feel" will come in the second beta, but Microsoft refused to say when they expected to release it, saying it would depend on the feedback it received about the first beta.

Microsoft first disclosed the official name for the next version of Windows on Thursday at its annual sales meeting, Microsoft Global Business (MGB), in a presentation by Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Core Operating System Division. The company made that name change public in a webcast late on Friday.

Part of the website for Vista has appeared online. And if you want to see a huge room of clones shouting, applauding and slapping one another with joy because a software company has decided to give a product a name, you can worry about American corporate culture in a video here.