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Gates unveils new products at CES

Antony Savvas

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has unveiled a variety of new products at this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The products include new mobile devices that take advantage of the Windows Vista OS, a home server, an in-car connectivity platform in partnership with Ford, and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) products that work with the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system.

Gates said, “From your living room to your car, we’re delivering a wave of new software products and services that make it easier for you to manage your day-to-day lives, express your ideas and share your interests.”

The new Toshiba Portege R400 is a Windows Vista-based mobile PC that incorporates connectivity and display technologies to provide timely access to e-mail and appointments via Active Notifications. It is built using Windows Sideshow technology.

The Medion UMPC is an ultra-mobile PC that provides multiple input options such as a keyboard, a pen and touch capabilities, and features the new Origami Experience, a user interface that optimises entertainment and communications on the smallest class of personal computers running Windows Vista.

A new IPTV on Xbox 360 product will offer digital video recording capabilities, gaming, movie viewing, and voice and video communications.

Windows Home Server is a new software product for families with multiple PCs that want to connect their home computers, digital devices and printers to help easily store, protect and share their expanding collections of digital content and entertainment.

Later this year, Hewlett-Packard plans to deliver the HP MediaSmart Server, powered by Windows Home Server.

Windows Home Server automatically backs up home PCs and provides a central location for storing a family’s photographs, music, videos and documents. Using a personalised Windows Live internet address, customers will be able to remotely access digital content on Windows Home Server when they are away from home.

At CES, companies such as AMD, Inventec and Quanta Computer will also demonstrate hardware reference designs for Windows Home Server. Windows Home Server will serve as a platform for independent software vendors to build innovative products for the digital home, said Gates.

At CES, Gates announced a partnership between Microsoft and Ford to deliver Sync, a voice-activated, intelligent means to connect personal electronic devices to vehicles, including a wide range of mobile phones, storage media, and portable music players, including Microsoft’s Zune.

Sync was developed by Ford and is based on the Microsoft Auto platform. The combined solution will offer hands-free phone dialling, address-book synchronisation, and other features such as the ability to read text messages through the car’s audio system.

Drivers can also control their digital music players using voice commands or controls on the steering wheel. Sync is planned to be available in the second half of 2007.

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