Microsoft and Intel Collaboration Brings New Options to Connected Device Market

San Francisco — Sept. 14, 2010 — Microsoft’s Mark Pendergrast has a vigilant eye for winning combinations. Performing as a DJ since his post-college days in Washington, D.C., he is one for keeping guests tied to the dance floor with the right mix of songs.

As senior product manager for Microsoft’s Windows Embedded business, Pendergrast continues to focus on things that are better together, such as Microsoft and Intel’s collaboration to deliver the Windows Media Center feature in Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Standard 7 on Intel’s Atom-based “Sodaville” CE 4100 SOC hardware solution. Windows Embedded Standard 7 makes devices better too, with enhanced user experiences and new media capabilities for consumers to leverage.

Last week, we showed how this Microsoft feature can be used by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to build uniquely branded experiences on consumer-focused connected media devices (CMDs) such as set-top boxes and DVRs. This week at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Intel and Microsoft will showcase how their collaboration provides a strong offering for device manufacturers looking to build CMDs with rich user experiences for the consumer market.

Digital entertainment in the home is evolving rapidly thanks to a number of powerful trends: growing broadband penetration, ubiquitous wireless networking, and ample new online media options. Powered by the latest Windows Embedded Standard 7 operating system and Intel’s newest SOC “Sodaville” solution, these new CMDs offer OEMs the ability to create branded, one-of-a-kind user experiences and quick time to market. Also, consumers can merge multimedia content from various locations, such as the Internet and broadcast TV, social media portals, and personal libraries of photos, music and videos, into a centralized home entertainment hub. Cool, right?

“The Connected TV and CMD category is of particular interest to Microsoft, as it represents one of the largest and fastest-growing potential markets for both ourselves and Intel,” said Pendergrast. “Microsoft’s OEM customers have been asking for a platform that would enable them to build a consumer-electronics-grade product that will directly connect to the TV, while providing all the great features of Windows Media Center. Our collaboration with Intel allows us to deliver on that request, giving OEMs the tools they need, solid compatibility for Windows Embedded Standard 7, and the ability to push entertainment capabilities to the richest level for the best possible customer experience.”

Also at IDF, Microsoft will be showcasing a number of prototype set-top-box designs from Acer and ASUS built on the Intel “Sodaville” SOC chipset and Windows Embedded Standard 7. These devices will be running a customized version of the Windows Media Center feature of Windows Embedded Standard 7, highlighting how OEMs can leverage this Microsoft platform to differentiate their offerings in the market.

Whether on the job or on the turntables, Pendergrast knows a thing or two about winning combinations. Stay tuned next week, when we’ll take a deep dive into Microsoft’s Better Together connected TV strategy and take a look at the product road map. As always, be sure to follow us on Twitter, @MSFTWEB, for more updates.