GENEVA — Feb. 28, 2006 — Fiat Auto Group and Microsoft Corp. will unveil their jointly developed infotainment system Blue&Me™ at the 2006 Geneva International Motor Show. Beginning in March, motorists can connect their personal mobile devices with the integrated solution in four brand-new models: the Fiat Grande Punto and the Alfa Romeo Brera, 159 and Spider models. Later in the year, Blue&Me will be also available in Lancia cars and the Fiat Light Commercial Vehicles. The new system comes at a very competitive price. The Windows Mobile® for Automotive-based infotainment package comes with Bluetooth® and USB connectivity, which allows drivers to listen to music from their personal integrated media player. It also features a hands-free phone kit that can be controlled completely by voice control. The system is the result of the partnership that Microsoft and Fiat Auto initiated two years ago — an extremely short time in which to bring such a device to market.
Integrating personal mobile devices into the car has just become much easier. Drivers and passengers can integrate their digital music players via the USB port and mobile phones using a Bluetooth connection in the car to place and receive calls and play digital music hands-free using voice commands. In addition, the integrated hands-free phone kit in the four cars connects to a large number of mobile phones as well as to digital USB mass storage devices.
“With the unveiling of the new Fiat Grande Punto and the Alfa Romeo models Brera, 159 and Spider with Blue&Me, we also launch the successful realization of the Fiat Auto-Microsoft project. We are more than happy that we will be able to offer our customers a system by which they are able to integrate their personal devices effortlessly into the car — a solution they cannot get anywhere else,” said Giuseppe Bonollo, vice president of Product Portfolio Management at Fiat Auto.
“Today, we advanced the partnership of automotive, software and entertainment represented by Fiat Auto and Microsoft. The result is the world’s most flexible, upgradeable infotainment solution for drivers and passengers. Consumers can now enjoy their personal mobile devices while on the road, giving them heretofore unknown freedom,” said Todd Warren, corporate vice president of the Mobile and Embedded Devices Product Group at Microsoft. “We value our collaboration with Fiat and the industry-changing offerings stemming from this partnership that enable consumers to use their mobile phones, PDAs and portable media devices in a safer and more integrated way in the car.”
One of the pioneer companies in the automobile industry, Fiat has produced more than 87 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, including no less than 400 models, since 1899, when the company was founded in Turin, Italy. Some of them have represented milestones in the automotive industry. The Fiat Group’s Automobiles Sector operates world-wide with the following brands: Fiat, celebrated for value, economy, and innovation and whose mass produced cars are distributed over almost the entire price class spectrum; Lancia (acquired in 1969) means prestige cars noted for their elegant styling, and comfort; Alfa Romeo (acquired in 1986) is famous as a maker of sport and luxury vehicles of style and distinction; Maserati (acquired in 1992) represents a landmark in the history of the automobile; Ferrari (acquired in 1969), well renowned for unsurpassed design, performance, and luxury, is a legendary automobile that imparts special cachet to its owner.
Microsoft Automotive Business Unit
Since 1995, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit has worked collaboratively with the auto industry to deliver technology designed for advanced in-car information, navigation and entertainment systems. By extending its knowledge of software for use in the car to Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs, Microsoft is able to deliver the easiest, most convenient and most productive software designed specifically to help people take their connected lifestyle with them wherever they go. In addition to offering consumers an alternative means to experience in-car connectivity, Microsoft will continue to provide the automotive industry with its advanced telematics platform, Windows® Automotive. Microsoft technology is on the road today in 61 pre-installed and aftermarket devices from 18 world-class automakers and suppliers, including BMW, Citroën, Clarion Co. Ltd., DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, NexTech, Subaru, Toyota and Volvo. More information about Windows Mobile for Automotive and Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsautomotive.
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