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What to expect from Microsoft in 2004?
Posted on 16-Dec-2003 19:46 | Filed under: News

The company has released a document with a review of Microsoft technology for 2003 and a preview for 2004. Because it's quite long and covering different technologies, I have listed only items related to mobile technologies:

Portable Media Centers Employ Windows Mobile to Extend Digital Media
Windows Mobile software will be at the heart of a new wave of portable digital media devices, expected to hit store shelves in the second half of 2004. Called Portable Media Centers, the devices provide Windows XP users immediate access away from their PC to all of their digital media, including digital videos, home movies, digital music, recorded television shows, digital photos, and even Photo Stories.

Leading device manufacturers Creative, iRiver International, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., SANYO Electric Co. Ltd., and ViewSonic Corp. have announced plans to develop Portable Media Centers. Building on the power of Windows Media Player and the Media Center Edition PC, Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Centers will enable people to store hundreds of hours of video and audio, and thousands of pictures on their devices.

Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Centers is built on Microsoft Windows CE .NET, the robust, real-time operating system designed to power the next generation of smart mobile and small-footprint devices. The software provides support for the leading Windows Media 9 Series audio and video formats, as well as MP3.

Speech Technology Primed for Mainstream Adoption, Launch in 2004
This year, Microsoft and its industry partners completed testing and development of software designed to make speech a mainstream, pervasive way to interact with computing devices. This comprehensive package of technologies will debut in 2004.

The goal of these technologies is to enable more businesses -- even medium-sized companies that previously couldn't afford such technology -- to introduce speech-enabled Help lines and customer call centers, and to create remote-computing options that allow workers speech-enabled access to Web-based information and applications information via standard telephones, cell phones and graphical user interface (GUI)-based devices such as Pocket PCs and smartphones.

In November, Microsoft released the second public beta version of Microsoft Speech Server, along with the fourth beta of its Speech Application Software Development Kit (SDK). These technologies are based on Speech Application Language Tags (SALT), an open, industry standard for building speech-enabled applications that can handle both telephony interaction (voice-in/voice-out) as well as multimodal interaction (voice-in/visual-out).

Scheduled for release in first quarter of 2004, Microsoft Speech Server, when used in conjunction with Speech Application SDK, will enable enterprises to deploy speech applications designed to improve employee productivity, increase customer satisfaction, create new revenue opportunities and reduce costs through streamlining Web and call-center infrastructures.

Also mentioned is the Smart Watches technology with MSN Direct service, aka SPOT.


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