Windows Media Audio Hits the Road in New Car Stereos From AIWA, Blaupunkt, Kenwood and Pioneer

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2002 — Today at the 2002 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. announced that several leading manufacturers are demonstrating new car stereo systems supporting Microsoft®
Windows Media (TM) Audio (WMA). The manufacturers include AIWA America Inc., Blaupunkt USA, Kenwood USA Corp. and Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. By including support for WMA, which provides CD-quality audio at half the file size of MP3, these systems will enable consumers to play back twice as much digital music on a single CD, more than 22 hours of their favorite music. Car stereo systems from AIWA and Blaupunkt supporting Windows Media are already available for purchase; models from Kenwood and Pioneer are scheduled for spring of this year.

“Car audio enthusiasts and mainstream consumers alike are eager to enjoy their digital music collections wherever and whenever they travel,” said Michael Townsen, vice president of marketing for Mobile Entertainment at Pioneer Electronics. “We’re supporting WMA in our car stereo systems so our customers can easily listen to hour after hour of their favorite CD-quality digital music whenever they hit the road.”

“This is what everyone has been waiting for: the ability to play back nearly a full day’s worth of your favorite music in your car, on a single CD, without ever hearing the same song twice,” said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “Leading car stereo manufacturers are putting digital music fans in the driver’s seat by building WMA support into their new systems.”

The new car stereo systems include these:

  • AIWA’s CDC-MA01. This in-dash CD player supports WMA and MP3 files. It offers a front-panel input jack that allows portable audio devices such as digital audio players and portable CD players to play through the car audio system. The AIWA CDC-MA01 is available at a suggested retail price of $349.95.

  • Blaupunkt’s San Jose MP41 and the MP3000. The San Jose MP41 and Blaupunkt MP3000 are powerful CD receivers with outstanding music file management, including an eight-layer directory and a wireless remote control. The Blaupunkt MP3000 also offers CD changer compatibility. The San Jose MP41 is $399 and the MP3000 is $339 (U.S.).

  • Kenwood’s Excelon KDC-X959 reads WMA, MP3 and conventional CD audio files and has significantly increased file and folder access speed, creating near-CD-speed access times when searching folder files or going from file to file. It also features Organic Electro Luminescent (OEL) display, which can show and store 40 consumer-created images or a consumer’s 5-second MPEG movie. It has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $700 (U.S.) and will be available this April.

  • Pioneer’s DEH-P9400MP, DEH-P8400MP, Pioneer Premier DEH-P940MP and the Pioneer Premier DEH-P840MP will offer WMA support for CD-R playback in 2002. Each of these models includes OEL information displays including up to 32 bytes of file names and will be available in March at most consumer electronics retailers.

Because WMA offers CD-quality sound at half the file size of MP3, it is enjoying broad support in many consumer electronic devices. More than 100 devices now support Windows Media from portable audio devices to CD players, home stereo components, new car stereo systems and now, as also announced today, DVD players.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers and software developers as well as business, education and government users. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated digital rights-management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation, and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing and now leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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