Microsoft Releases Windows Automotive 5.0 for Accelerating Customized In-Vehicle System Development

YOKOHAMA, Japan — July 12, 2005 — Today at the Microsoft® Windows® Automotive Conference 2005 at the Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan, Microsoft Corp.’s Automotive Business Unit announced the release of Windows Automotive 5.0, the latest version of its automotive-grade software platform designed specifically for the custom development of advanced in-vehicle solutions including navigation, infotainment and communication systems.

“As automotive and mobile device technologies continue to converge, our commitment to delivering technology that provides consumers with seamless communication, information and digital entertainment experiences extends to the car,” said Todd Warren, corporate vice president of the Devices, Services and eXperience group at Microsoft. “The release of Windows Automotive 5.0 marks an important step in the company’s continued collaboration with the automotive industry to make this vision a reality.”

Windows Automotive 5.0 provides the automotive industry with a powerful, flexible software platform to create an array of cutting-edge in-vehicle solutions. Building on previous versions, new features such as the Automotive User Interface Toolkit (AUITK) and expanded virtual memory support enable the creation of complex 3-D graphics and advanced navigation displays, while enhanced power management and faster cold-boot times improve performance. In addition, the platform is expected to help the industry deliver better solutions to market more quickly using the new Automotive System Tools (ASTs), which include improved test modules and easy-to-use product engineering guidelines to help simplify the development process and increase reliability.

“Windows Automotive 5.0 is designed to deliver on the industry’s need for scalable, customizable and reliable technology that reduces development costs and creates innovative, differentiated systems for every price range and vehicle type,” said Marty Thall, general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft. “Now our partners have an automotive-grade software platform for delivering in-vehicle technology solutions that meet the growing demands of today’s drivers and passengers.”

Based on the robust, real-time embedded operating system Windows CE 5.0, Windows Automotive 5.0 contains the building blocks necessary to integrate with off-board services, including those offering real-time traffic updates, directions to the cheapest gas in town, turn-by-turn navigation and more. More specifically, new software platform features include these:

  • Better, faster user interface development. A new Automotive User Interface Toolkit connects to the core application program to facilitate the development of a high-quality “skin” for the driver and passenger interface without requiring developers to write additional interface code. The AUITK also offers easy-to-use modification and viewer features, improved debugging, expanded custom control support, 3-D solutions, and smooth animation to speed development of a high-quality user interface.

  • Scalability from single feature to multifunctional systems. Windows Automotive is a componentized, reliable, real-time operating system that is designed to boot a complex system quickly and consistently each time. With Microsoft’s highly customizable solution, developers only need one software platform for an end-to-end solution, from a high-end 3-D graphic navigation system to a low-end single DIN device such as a digital radio or hands-free kit. In addition, Windows Automotive 5.0’s multimedia function with DirectShow® can power a variety of rich digital media including Windows Media® Audio, MP3 and DVD.

  • Expanded virtual memory. With 96 MB of virtual memory available in Windows Automotive 5.0, larger and more sophisticated applications — such as improved speech recognition, bolder graphics and 3-D navigation — are possible.

  • Enhanced stability and reliability. The new Automotive System Tools include advanced testing and development support tools that enable developers to design more reliable in-vehicle software. The System Design Tool visualizes memory allocation, memory usage and thread status. The System Building Block Tool visually configures software platform components.

  • Expanded support for industry standards. To enable more powerful, differentiated device development, the platform supports the two most common CPUs: MIPS and SuperH. In addition, Windows Automotive 5.0 supports Bluetooth®, 802.11, UPnP, USB, XML, SOAP and other common standards.

  • Familiar development environment. Familiar, easy-to-use Windows CE Platform Builder and its supporting tools are customizable so automotive engineers can define the tools they need to help drive efficiency, improve quality and speed project development.

A Proven Software Platform

Since its initial release in 1998, Windows Automotive has been embraced by developers, suppliers and original equipment manufacturers worldwide. The latest version of the software platform builds on this success, delivering the tools designed to help expedite the development of reliable and robust in-vehicle scenarios, all at lower cost to the automotive industry.

Windows Automotive 5.0 was co-developed by Microsoft teams in Redmond, Wash., and Tokyo in an effort to meet the differing needs of automotive industry worldwide. Currently, world-class automotive device suppliers including Alpine Electronics Inc., Clarion Co. Ltd., Kenwood Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Pioneer Corp. and Tottori Sanyo Electric are using the Windows Automotive platform to develop a broad range of solutions ranging from digital radios and hands-free kits to high-end 3-D navigation systems.

“Microsoft’s Windows Automotive software platform provides our developers with essential building blocks for creating our in-vehicle technology,” said Satoshi Soma, general manager of AVNC Product Development at Alpine Electronics Inc. “Using Windows Automotive at the core, we have been able to deliver more innovative, higher-quality devices to automakers and consumers than ever before.”

About the Microsoft Automotive Business Unit

Since 1995, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit has worked collaboratively with the auto industry to deliver reliable, flexible technology designed for advanced in-car navigation, communication and infotainment systems. Whether through its Windows Mobile™ for Automotive software stack and hardware reference design or Windows Automotive software platform, the Automotive Business Unit is dedicated to providing reliable, flexible technology solutions to suppliers and OEMs worldwide. Microsoft technology is available today in 27 preinstalled and 28 dealer-option/aftermarket devices from 18 world-class automakers and suppliers, including BMW, Citroën, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and Volvo.

About Microsoft in Automotive

Microsoft has been working with the automotive industry for more than a decade to provide technology solutions for the entire automotive ecosystem. In manufacturing, Microsoft works with industry-leading partners to develop solutions based on Microsoft technologies that enable OEMs, suppliers and customers to improve efficiency, effectiveness and knowledge across the business. From an in-vehicle technology perspective, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit works collaboratively with the auto industry to deliver technology designed for advanced in-car navigation, communication and infotainment systems. On the Internet, MSN® Autos is visited by more than 12 million consumers each month. From product reviews and surround video features to new- and used-car pricing, MSN Autos helps consumers find the car they love, at a price they can afford.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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