Microsoft Details 2002 Device Road Map

Microsoft late last week started discussing its plans for Net device-related product releases for the coming year that include a January release for its Windows CE .NET platform, its Tablet PC products and a revamp of its interactive television (iTV) platform).

The company reported late last week that it is on target to release its Windows CE .NET platform in January. Formerly code-named Talisker, this is the kernel, or basis, on which other specific mobile platforms will be based.

It’s current handheld platform, Pocket PC 2002, is based on Windows CE 3.0. The company refused comment on whether or when the handheld platform would be updated to Windows CE .NET.

The new platform will include native support for Bluetooth short-range wireless technology and for 802.11b wireless local area networks. According to the company, ti also will have significantly improved power management capabilities and will support Internet Explorer 5.5 and Windows Media 8.0.

The company also said it will release Tablet PC products in 2002. The tablet-sized devices will weigh under three pounds and will be based on a special version of Windows XP. Besides handwriting recognition, the devices will support keyboards.

Microsoft is positioning Tablet PC as an evolutionary step for laptop computers. The company said the devices will be released in the second half of 2002.

The company also said that an upgraded version of its Microsoft TV Advanced Platform will see the light of day in 2002. Its iTV platform previously has not met with much success among cable operators and application vendors as early adopters such as Portugal’s TV Cabo, have abandoned the platform.

However, Microsoft notched a win several months ago when Charter Communications, the U.S.’s fourth-largest cable vendor, said that it would deploy the Microsoft TV Advanced Platform starting with its subscribers in the St. Louis area. In a statement, Microsoft said that it expected the agreement with Charter to eventually result in use in more than one million set-top boxes.

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