LAS VEGAS — Jan. 5, 2006 — At the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. showcased several new products built on Windows® Automotive technologies delivering advanced in-vehicle communication, navigation and digital entertainment experiences for consumers. Alpine Electronics of America Inc., consistently ranked No. 1 by J.D. Power and Associates in customer satisfaction, unveiled a new portable navigation device called Blackbird and a new aftermarket in-vehicle navigation system, the NVE-N872A. In addition, Microsoft showcased the Windows Automotive-powered navigation system in the new Honda Odyssey minivan, Honda Ridgeline truck and Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, the 2006 Honda Civic.
These new navigation systems provide satellite-guided turn-by-turn directions and useful features such as voice-guided controls and information on more than 7 million points of interest, including Zagat Survey restaurant guide information, to make getting from place to place easier than ever.
“These new products demonstrate the power and versatility of Microsoft’s in-vehicle technologies for helping the automotive, mobile and consumer electronics industries meet the demands of drivers and passengers,” said Martin Thall, general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft. “These new Alpine and Honda solutions are the latest of an extensive list of products built on the Windows Embedded platform that deliver safer, more reliable and affordable ways for consumers to communicate, navigate, access information and enjoy digital entertainment on the road.”
Connecting Drivers to the Outside World
Telematics Research Group estimates that nearly 5 million vehicles on the road have navigation systems and that another 1 million consumers are bringing portable navigation devices into the car. When this data is combined with research from the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimating that Americans spend more than 500 million commuter hours per week in their vehicle and that 73 percent of cell phone users talk on their phones while driving, it’s clear that consumers increasingly want to stay connected, even when they are behind the wheel.
Microsoft is at the forefront of this trend, partnering with the automotive, mobile and consumer electronics industries to provide enabling technologies that help them quickly bring turnkey solutions to market that are cost-effective. For example, the company’s Windows Automotive and Windows Mobile® for Automotive platforms enable the automotive industry to develop a variety of integrated solutions that help consumers get to their destination yet stay connected to the people, information and digital entertainment they need along the way:
In-car factory-installed and aftermarket navigation. Currently, Microsoft’s Windows Automotive software platform is powering 61 preinstalled, dealer-option and aftermarket devices from 18 world-class automakers and suppliers, including Honda, Acura, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Alpine, Kenwood and Pioneer. Alpine is offering the new NVE-N872A, and Pioneer recently introduced its first U.S. aftermarket in-car navigation system. The AVIC-Z1, winner of a 2006 CES Innovations Award, provides advanced turn-by-turn navigation and enables consumers to enjoy high-quality audio and video entertainment in the car.
Mobile device connectivity. Through Microsoft’s Windows Mobile for Automotive solution, automakers can use a standardized software stack and hardware reference design to quickly create a consumer electronics gateway that helps drivers and passengers more easily integrate and operate their mobile phones, digital music players and portable navigation devices on the road. This year, Fiat Auto will introduce the first vehicles to utilize this solution to seamlessly integrate consumers’ own devices such as mobile phones with Bluetooth® connectivity for access to contacts, appointments and hands-free calling, as well as to connect their MP3 and Windows Media® Audio (WMA) players via a USB port on the dash for enjoying digital music on the road. In addition, consumers will be able to access Web services for off-board navigation and real-time traffic updates. All features will be voice-enabled so drivers can keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
Other solutions that Microsoft® software platforms and Web services are enabling for the automobile, being shown at CES, include these:
Portable navigation. In addition to Alpine’s new Blackbird device, Windows CE® is powering portable navigation devices from a number of industry partners. Devices shown combine the robust features of an in-car navigation system with the portable convenience of a powerful, lightweight device
High-speed rear-seat entertainment. Today Microsoft announced its plans to collaborate with KVH Industries Inc. to develop a customized version of the MSN® TV 2 Internet & Media Player that will deliver in-vehicle, mobile broadband connectivity and MSN TV service, Windows Media Player, MSN Mail, MSN Messenger, digital photo viewing, MSN Video and MSN Radio to car, truck, RV and boat owners.
Mobile office productivity. Microsoft and Stargate Mobile are showcasing the mobile office – a solution providing business professionals on the go with a small, lightweight computer that can be docked inside a vehicle for use away from the traditional office. Built on Windows XP Professional, the Stargate Mobile computer provides workers with Internet connectivity and full access to Microsoft Office applications, such as Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, right in the vehicle or just about anywhere on a job site. Ford Motor Company will be the first automaker to offer the mobile office, named Ford Link, as a dealer-installed incentive later this year.
About Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit
Since 1995, Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit has been working 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 original equipment manufacturers worldwide. Microsoft technology is available today in 61 preinstalled and dealer option/aftermarket devices from 18 world-class automakers and suppliers, including BMW, Citroën, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and Volvo. More information about the Microsoft Automotive Business Unit can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/automotive.
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