MSNBC.com, the Internet site for the MSNBC 24-hour cable news channel run by Microsoft
and the news division of the NBC television network (owned by General Electric
, has launched a digitial news service targeting mobile professionals with laptops running Intel’s Centrino (though any Windows PC online can use it).
The service, called MSNBC Wireless Traveler revolves around a downloadable Windows application that will automatically go online when an Internet connection is detected to get headlines, full articles in HTML format, and even multimedia videos and Flash-based animations. The content is stored on the user’s hard drive and can be accessed whether online or not, using a Web browser — sort of a modern day “push” client. Data download synchronization can be scheduled as the user sees fit, or started manually.
Intel’s Centrino brand — which signifies laptops using Intel’s Mobile Pentium chips coupled with internal 802.11-based components for network access — is a major part of the Wireless Traveler. Centrino ads are the only ones seen in the Traveler software and the Microsoft announcement says the software is meant “to take advantage of the growing number of ‘hotspots’ providing wireless Internet access at airport terminals, hotel lobbies, cafes, and other public spaces.”
The utility is available at http://centrino.msnbc.com and runs on Windows ME/2000/XP. It requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and Media Player 9 to run, as well as Macromedia Flash 6.0. The release states it “runs best with Intel Centrino” but the software ran just fine on a standard broadband-equipped desktop system that didn’t even have Wi-Fi. The software was developed by Tennyson Maxwell Information Systems of Los Angeles.