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(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft is trying to kill off the JPEG with an announcement that it has launched a competing file format at PMA 2007 in Las Vegas for end-to-end digital photography.

Called HD Photo, the new format purports to offer higher image quality, greater preservation of data, and advanced features.

According to the software giant, "This new, next-generation digital image format offers the best solution for digital image editing and storage and unlocks the potential for digital photography on devices, applications and services".

HD Photo offers compression with up to twice the efficiency of JPEG, with fewer damaging artifacts, resulting in higher-quality images that are one-half the file size. In addition, Microsoft is saying that HD Photo offers increased image fidelity, preserving the entire original image content and enabling higher-quality exposure and colour adjustments in the image.

Microsoft also announced that it intends to standardize the technology and will be submitting HD Photo to an appropriate standards organisation shortly.

“With HD Photo, we’re taking a new approach to creating and editing photos that simply isn’t available to photographers with today’s formats”, said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of the Consumer Media Technology Group at Microsoft.

Microsoft also announced the beta release of a set of HD Photo plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop software, developed with the help of Adobe.

The plug-ins support both the CS3 and CS2 versions of Adobe Photoshop software, and will be available for Windows Vista and Windows XP, as well as Mac OS X (Universal Binary).

A beta version of the Windows plug-in is available today for download. Microsoft expects to release finished plug-ins, which will be free of charge, in approximately 60 days.

Writing by Stuart Miles.