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Concepts introduced by Neptune would influence future Windows products; in Windows ME, the activity center concept was used for System Restore and Help and Support Center (which both combined Win32 code with an interface rendered using Internet Explorer's layout engine), the hub concept would be expanded on Windows Phone, and Windows 8 would similarly use a simplified user interface running atop the existing Windows shell.In January 2000, shortly prior to the official release of Windows 2000, technology writer Paul Thurrott reported that Microsoft had shelved both Neptune and Odyssey in favor of a new product codenamed Whistler, after Whistler, British Columbia, as many Microsoft employees skied at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort.Based on the NT 5.0 kernel in Windows 2000, Neptune primarily focused on offering a simplified, task-based interface based on a concept known internally as "activity centers", originally planned to be implemented in Windows 98.A number of activity centers were planned, serving as hubs for email communications, playing music, managing or viewing photos, searching the Internet, and viewing recently used content.
As of January 2018 In the late 1990s, initial development of what would become Windows XP was focused on two individual products; "Odyssey", which was reportedly intended to succeed the future Windows 2000, and "Neptune", which was reportedly a consumer-oriented operating system using the Windows NT architecture, succeeding the MS-DOS-based Windows 98.
At PDC on July 13, 2000, Microsoft announced that Whistler would be released during the second half of 2001, and also released the first preview build, 2250.
The build notably introduced an early version of a new visual styles system along with an interim theme known as "Professional" (later renamed "Watercolor"), and contained a hidden "Start page" (a full-screen page similar to Neptune's "Starting Places"), and a hidden, early version of a two-column Start menu design.
Microsoft released Whistler Beta 1, build 2296, on October 31, 2000.
In January 2001, build 2410 introduced Internet Explorer 6.0 (previously branded as 5.6) and the Microsoft Product Activation system.