REDMOND, Wash. — April 4, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the worldwide availability of Windows® CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack, an optional set of software components designed to lower the total cost of development for device-makers wanting to create next-generation networked media devices (NMDs) and Internet protocol set-top boxes (IP STBs), which will become an increasingly integral part of the digital home. The Microsoft® Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack supports a broader range of video formats, PlaysForSure™ certification and digital video recorder (DVR) functionalities, and helps developers focus their time on device differentiation and innovation instead of middleware licensing and integration.
The Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack is being launched with worldwide support from consumer electronics companies such as Amoi Electronics Co. Ltd., HUMAX Co. Ltd., Media Excel Inc., Microsoft TV and Motorola Inc., many of which will bring to market new Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack-based devices this quarter. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across the globe, including U.S.-based Cisco Systems Inc. and Taiwan-based Tatung Co., currently use Windows CE 5.0 to develop STBs supporting the Microsoft TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Edition software platform.
According to Chen Qiang, general manager of Amoi’s Digital Home Division, “As the world’s first manufacturer to use Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack on Amoi’s IPTV running on Windows CE, we are very excited about our relationship with Microsoft. Amoi’s IPTV can depend on Microsoft’s extensive source code to differentiate our products from the competition, and enhance user experience while reducing our development cost. The Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack is the most ideal and robust platform for us to build our next generation of cutting-edge IPTV products.”
“The demand for smartphones, portable media players and other networked, multifunction handheld devices continues to have an impact on the embedded software market,” said Chris Lanfear, director of the Embedded Software Group at Venture Development Corp. “As software increasingly defines innovation, Microsoft’s new feature pack for Windows CE 5.0 allows for greater device differentiation, potential cost savings and time-to-market benefits by offering pre-certified and integrated middleware, fully customizable shared source code, and IP-protected redistribution rights. These enhancements make Windows CE 5.0 a leading platform for developing next-generation consumer electronics, networked media devices and IP set-top boxes.”
Unlike open source operating systems, the new Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack includes built-in middleware components that provide all the key networking, device drivers and codecs needed to develop an NMD or IP STB. This feature eliminates the need for device-makers to search for compatible third-party middleware, translating to faster time to market, lower total cost of ownership and reduced device complexity.
To encourage and facilitate greater device customization, the NMD middleware and DVR engine found in the Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack are included as part of Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative. This program gives developers extensive access to Windows CE source code, including the right to modify and redistribute custom components. The shared source code license also includes a flexible template that OEMs can use to create unique, customized user interfaces that further differentiate their devices.
“Windows Embedded has established a strong presence in the consumer electronics space, with more than 30 device-makers shipping tens of thousands of Windows Embedded-based set-top boxes around the world,” said Jane Gilson, director of the Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft. “The new Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack helps our partners streamline the development of NMDs and IP STBs so they can focus on product differentiation and innovation.”
The Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack launch represents a new go-to-market strategy for Microsoft and confirms its continued commitment to the embedded marketplace. By creating new functionalities for an existing version of the Windows CE operating system through multiple, cumulative feature packs without affecting existing integrations, Microsoft is helping device-makers implement must-have features and plan for future high-demand devices between major new versions of Windows CE. The Windows CE 5.0 Networked Media Device Feature Pack is available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsce.
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