Microsoft Windows 98 to Enable a New Generation of Hardware
REDMOND, Wash., April 20, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that as the June 25 launch of the Microsoft® Windows® 98 operating system draws near, the number of universal serial bus (USB) hardware vendors creating peripherals that take advantage of the Windows 98 operating system is growing dramatically.
More than 250 individual USB products are being developed by the industry’s leading manufacturers today, and an additional 100 are expected within the next year, according to Stephen Whalley, chairman of the USB Implementers Forum (USB IF). This increased activity to develop simple USB-compatible plug-and-play peripherals underscores vendor excitement for Windows 98 and the opportunities the operating system promises for unlocking new and innovative hardware possibilities.
“Just as Windows 95 ushered in a new class of easy-to-use software, Windows 98 is enabling an exciting new generation of PC hardware,” said Yusuf Mehdi, director of Windows marketing, personal business systems group at Microsoft. “Customers are going to be amazed at the innovation and ease of use that is provided from many USB-enabled devices designed for Windows 98-based PCs.”
Windows 98 includes native USB support and is the first major operating system upgrade to take full advantage of USB technology. Through USB, users of Windows 98 have quick and easy plug-and-play functionality because USB eliminates the need to open up the PC to install peripheral cards, reconfigure systems and software, or take up multiple serial and parallel port connectors. With just a single cable and a standard connector plug, USB allows peripherals to be automatically configured the moment they are attached without the need to reboot or run setup.
Windows 98 Provides Vendors With a Powerful Vehicle to Deliver Innovative Solutions
Windows 98 is one of three factors contributing to the increased activity for USB development, according to Whalley, along with widespread USB acceptance on all desktop and most notebook PCs and the wide availability of tools for developing USB products. In addition to chairing the USB IF, a support organization formed to encourage and accelerate the development of compatible devices using USB, Whalley is also connectivity initiatives manager at Intel Corp.
“Windows 98 has been a catalyst in bringing dramatic momentum to USB hardware development and the array of products now in development will herald a new era in peripheral design, expanding the use of PCs today,” said Whalley. “Windows 98 unleashes the power of simpler peripheral connectivity on consumer PCs and notebooks and takes us one step nearer to the PC becoming a true consumer appliance.”
Hardware vendors such as Connectix Corp. and Storm Technology Inc. have already started to see the benefits that Windows 98 will offer for their customers, as well as the greater market opportunity for their products. Connectix Corp. has taken advantage of USB’s technology to make its existing products even more innovative and looks forward to the broad availability of USB support with the launch of Windows 98.
“As the pioneer and market leader in PC digital video cameras, Connectix QuickCam is known for its ease of installation and use,” said Don Pickens, vice president and general manager of hardware for Connectix. “Full USB compatibility in Windows 98 will make both QuickCam VC and our new QuickClip video capture device even easier to install without requiring use of the parallel port.” With the increased simplicity that USB support offers customers, Connectix expects to sell its millionth QuickCam by July, marking a significant milestone in growth of the industry.
Storm Technology a leading supplier of affordable, high-quality color scanners also anticipates the advantages of USB support in Windows 98. “We are very excited to offer consumers a scanning solution that provides the many benefits of USB technology,” said Bob Preston, vice president of sales and marketing at Storm Technology. “And, with the imminent release of Windows 98, even more consumers will be able to take advantage of the enhanced performance and convenience offered by USB technology.”
Storm’s PageScan USB is the first scanner to take advantage of USB technology for true plug and play. PageScan USB easily connects and disconnects to any USB-capable PC without the need to reboot and safely draws its power from the PC, eliminating the need for an external power supply.
Microsoft Windows 98 Pricing and Availability
Microsoft Windows 98 is the forthcoming version of Microsoft’s operating system and is currently in its final testing stages. Building on the breakthrough features of Windows 95,
Windows 98 improves performance, reliability and ease of use, as well as unlocking an exciting new range of PC hardware and entertainment capabilities. It is scheduled to be released to the public on June 25 on store shelves and new PCs at the estimated retail price of $109 (U.S.) for the upgrade version for users of Windows 95 and Windows 3.1
For more information on Windows 98, visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows98/ .
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