Microsoft Debuts New Platforms for PC Devices

Microsoft Corp. introduced today two
new additions to its PC Companion product line: Palm PC and Auto PC.


Palm PC is a small “palm-sized” portable device powered by
Windows CE version 2.0 that serves as an extension of a users’ desktop,
including calendar, contacts, tasks, inbox, and Internet and intranet
information.


The devices come equipped with a variety of applications, such as “Pocket
Outlook,” which includes calendar, contacts, tasks, and inbox; “Note
Taker,” which converts ink and text notes into Word or other text format
for use on a desktop PC; “Voice Recorder,” a recording application for
voice notes; and “Mobile Channels,” a viewer for accessing Web content
offline.


A number of hardware manufacturers announced they have begun development of
products that support the Palm PC platform, including Casio Computer, FIC
Group (Everex/LEO), LG Electronics, Palmax Technology, Philips Electronics
North America, Samsung Electronics America, and Uniden Corp.


Auto PC is a device the size of a car stereo that responds
to voice commands, enabling drivers to access wireless information such as
e-mails, pages, traffic alerts, and other data while “keeping their eyes on
the road and their hands on the wheel.”


The device, which can be installed into a car’s dashboard, responds to
verbal commands and implements speech synthesis to broadcast information to
drivers. The expandable platform is designed to enable third-party vendors
to create additional applications, such as cellular phone integration,
vehicle diagnostic applications, and others.


Auto PC devices are currently being developed for shipment the second
quarter of 1998 from vendors such as Alpine Japan, Clarion Corp. of
America, Daewoo Telecom, Hyundai Electronics Industries, IAV GmbH, Infinity
Systems, JBL Inc., Magneti Marelli S.p.A., MD-Co., Nissan Motor Corporation
U.S.A., PSA Peugeot Citroen, Samsung Electronics, United Technologies
Automotive, Visteon Corp. and Volkswagen AG.


“We know that the average user of the automobile spends about seven hours
per week behind the wheel, and this is largely unproductive time,” said Brad
Bradshaw, vice president, marketing, Nissan. “Since time is a luxury for
our customers and we can’t give them more of it, we at Infiniti are
exploring new technologies like the Auto PC that can simplify their lives.”


Microsoft reports the PC Companion devices are designed to work together,
thus enabling Palm PC and Auto PC devices to share information.


A number of software vendors reported they have begun developing
applications for the PC Companion product line, including InfoGation Corp.,
Etak Inc., GoldMine Software Corp., Network Associates Inc. (formerly McAfee
Associates) and Metrowerks Inc.


Microsoft reports it will begin shipping Palm PC and Auto PC software to
OEM vendors the first quarter 1998. To assist developers of applications
for Windows CE-powered devices, Microsoft is hosting a Windows CE
Developers Conference, April 6-8, 1998, at the San Jose Convention Center
in San Jose, CA.


For more information, visit the Windows CE Developer
site
.

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