Microsoft has announced a new still image format called Windows Media Photo (with a WDP file extension). According to their white paper this new format offers compression ratios close to JPEG-2000 but with the computational requirements of JPEG (smaller files with the same image quality). The use of new algorithms are also claimed to reduce the visibility of 'objectionable spatial artifacts' (those mosquito JPEG artifacts). Windows Media Photo supports a wide range of image formats including both fixed and floating point numerical representations (think wide dynamic range), various color spaces, metadata (including EXIF) and even transparency. This new format will be supported in Windows Vista when it arrives and will be made available for Windows XP, there has been no word yet of support for the format in any hardware devices.

Click here for more information on Windows Media Photo

Click here for the Windows Media Photo Specification document