Microsoft Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 Advances In-Car Computing

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 5, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today introduced the Windows® CE for Automotive 3.5 software platform, the most recent milestone in the burgeoning in-car computing industry. Microsoft®
Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 delivers dramatic enhancements in key areas such as hands-free and eyes-free communications, with improved speech recognition; more robust graphics capabilities, including faster map drawing; faster startup times; and reliable Internet access. Each improvement provides real-time flexibility and is designed to advance in-car safety, communications and information.

Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 offers unprecedented flexibility and reliability to companies developing in-car telematics solutions. Its open architecture allows developers to select the hardware platform, user interface and overall graphical personality that best meet their needs. In addition, this new platform fosters timely, manageable, cost-effective client platforms for the embedded automotive industry.

“We’ve invested a considerable amount of time and resources in creating an open platform that allows developers to build rich, powerful and comprehensive devices from a compact footprint,” said Bob McKenzie, general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft. “Auto manufacturers and suppliers will also appreciate the enhanced features in the Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 telematics platform that make it cost-effective, easy to develop to, and able to fit every price tag and car model.”

New and improved features in Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 include the following:

  • New!
    Streamlined graphical user interface. Powerful, hardware-independent tools, functionality and “skinnable” graphics enable designers to easily customize the appearance of their systems to different car lines.

  • New!
    Hands-free communication interface. Drivers and passengers can now speak more naturally and directly to devices using simple voice commands. The completely rebuilt speech engine supports the latest human-like speech interaction enabled by text-to-speech technology.

  • New!
    Platform foundation. A new platform configuration enables developers to create a compact solution for devices with limited storage capacity. They can start with a small base and, from there, build as much or as little as required by the automaker.

  • New!
    Power management. A fast and reliable power-management architecture eliminates the need for a backup battery, and ensures rapid startup and shutdown without data loss.

  • New!
    Customizable developer tools. Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 provides developers with flexible, scalable building blocks from which they can choose a variety of development systems — such as ActiveX® Controls and Visual Basic®
    — to create low-end to high-end applications based on car manufacturer requirements.

  • New!
    Microsoft Mobile Explorer (TM) . This full-featured, compact and efficient version of the Internet Explorer browser provides motorists with valuable access to the wireless “information highway.”

  • Improved!
    Graphics. High-performance features include faster graphics drawing and mapping API and DirectX®
    support. Also included is GDI-Sub, a high-performance feature for the most demanding graphics applications, such as those for navigation.

With Windows CE for Automotive, Microsoft and industry partners are positioned to lead the race to make in-car computing as much a part of future driving experiences as the radio is today.

“Due to our strong relationship with Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit, we are very pleased with the recent enhancements to Windows CE for Automotive 3.5,” said Klaus Dieterich, general manager at Bosch Blaupunkt, a worldwide leader in advanced automotive electronics. “Power management and faster booting times were top features on our wish list, and Microsoft delivered. Microsoft’s technological leadership, coupled with its commitment to the automotive industry, drove our decision to use Windows CE for Automotive as the platform of choice for our future devices.”

Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 is the client component of the Microsoft Car .NET initiative, an advanced, new-generation infrastructure technology that revolutionizes computing and communications in the automobile. Microsoft, along with development and manufacturing partners, will play an essential role in advancing these flexible and integrated devices.

About Windows CE for Automotive

Microsoft Windows CE for Automotive is a platform built on Windows CE, a robust, real-time embedded operating system, which enables new categories of in-car computers designed to safely provide drivers and passengers with hands-free communication, access to personalized information on the Internet, the ability to summon emergency services and roadside assistance, and an array of convenience and entertainment applications. Windows CE for Automotive is an open platform that allows developers to quickly create powerful in-car computing solutions. It offers flexibility and choice of computing platforms, hardware peripherals and software components, as well as a large community of experienced developers for Windows CE.

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.

Microsoft, Windows, ActiveX, Visual Basic, Mobile Explorer and DirectX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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