Microsoft, Phone Manufacturers Preview Web-Enabled Telephones Powered By Windows CE at CeBIT
Easy Access to Caller ID, Voice Messages, E-Mail and the Internet
REDMOND, Wash. - March 17, 1999 - - Microsoft Corp., in conjunction with several telephone manufacturers, previewed Web-enabled telephones powered by the Microsoft® Windows® CE operating system at the CeBIT 99 trade show today in Hanover, Germany. Acer Inc., Daewoo Telecom Ltd., Panasonic, Philips and Vestel (information appliances division) demonstrated prototype Web-enabled telephones, which combine traditional telephone services such as voice messaging and caller ID with enhanced data capabilities such as Internet access and e-mail.
Web-enabled telephones integrate the traditional phone handset and numeric keypad with a touch-screen display and keyboard. They are targeted at consumers without PCs who want a low-cost means of accessing the Internet, as well as households that already have a PC but want a second location in the house for more convenient access to Web or Internet services. The phones offer a familiar user experience - dialing a telephone - as well as simple one-touch screen menus for retrieving messages or accessing the Internet.
"For consumers, the telephone already represents a ubiquitous communications device," said Jonathan Roberts, group director, information appliances division at Microsoft. "With Web-enabled telephones, consumers can have a fast, easy way to get significantly more value from a device they are already comfortable with."
Powered by Windows CE, Microsoft's modular, 32-bit operating system designed for a broad range of information appliances, Web-enabled telephones will be an open and robust platform upon which to build additional services and features, using familiar desktop software development tools from the Windows environment.
Users of the Web-enabled telephones will have access to an address book, caller ID, e-mail, answering machine (OEM optional), notes and full Web browsing. The 640 by 480 touch-screen will enable most Web pages to be displayed without modification, and the full-size screen allows large, easily-viewed buttons for one-touch access to common tasks and applications.
While the phones will initially access the Internet via a standard analog modem (33.6 Kbps), future Windows CE-based Web-enabled telephones will support ISDN and ADSL connections for higher-speed access.
Platform Enables Wide Customization Options
Windows CE is designed to give OEMs, telephone companies and ISPs an extensible and open platform for customizing a particular device. Windows CE-based Web-enabled telephones will support any standard ISP connection, support all back-end network interface requirements for telephone installations, and offer manufacturers a choice of any Windows CE-supported CPU. Beyond the basic requirements of display size and resolution, hardware designs, applications and various screen displays can be customized or extended with plug-ins.
"We are working very closely with OEMs, telecommunications companies and ISPs to establish a program of evaluation, trial and deployment of these devices," Roberts said. "We think this is a great opportunity to provide a well-integrated platform of telephony and data services to consumers."
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