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RealTime IT News

Microsoft Touts Non-PC Capabilities of .NET

Along with its massive push of the .NET platform onto the client/server environment, Microsoft Corp. Thursday tried to emphasize the framework's ability to support non-PC platforms as well. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant announced a strategic alliance with Anoto AB of Sweden to deliver enhanced communications on Anoto's pen-based technologies.

Anoto, a subsidiary of C Technologies AB, has created the novel concept of an electronic pen-and-paper platform, where developers can build programs to transmit written text, graphics and background forms to PCs, as well as to devices such as cellular phones, pagers and PDAs. With the new alliance, Anoto will use the .NET Framework to transform its digital pen-and-paper technology into a rich XML Web service.

The announcement comes on the eve of Microsoft's release of Visual Studio.NET, a suite of developer tools that is critical to the .NET Framework. Anoto said building on the .NET Platform will enable it to expand its marketplace, by making it easier for any VS.NET developer to plug Anoto digital pen-and-paper technologies into larger applications they are building.

"Anoto's pen-based technology is a perfect example of a next-generation XML Web service fulfilling the demands of increasingly mobile and technically savvy consumers," said Eric Rudder, senior vice president at Microsoft.

Anoto will also design its digital pen-and-paper computing platform for the Windows XP operating system. This will lead to a new range of enterprise and consumer applications, such as simple note taking, package delivery recordkeeping and completion of medical forms, that utilize pen and paper naturally. Microsoft also will support Anoto's digital pens through the Universal Plug and Play standard used by Windows XP.

Initially, a version of the enterprise standardized services will be developed for Windows XP, based on VS.NET and the .NET Framework. This will allow transmission of digital ink from Anoto's pen-and-paper solutions directly to a PC, where a user can manipulate, enhance and translate a text image using familiar applications such as Microsoft Office.