Bill Gates Showcases New Technology For "Smart Living" in the Digital Decade
Jan. 08, 2003
2003 CES Keynote Highlights Smart, Connected Devices and Services That Help People Keep in Touch and Be Entertained; Unveils Watches From Leading Manufacturers Built on Smart Personal Objects Technology

LAS VEGAS Jan. 8, 2003 In his keynote address at the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates outlined his vision for "Smart Living" in the Digital Decade, showcasing innovations that included a new generation of wristwatches based on Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT).


            Bill Gates wears the new Fossil wristwatch, created with Smart Personal Objects Technology.  Click image for high-res version.
Bill Gates wears the new Fossil wristwatch, created with Smart Personal Objects Technology. Click image for high-res version.
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In addition, Gates discussed strong progress on the company's cornerstone products including Microsoft

Windows

XP, the MSN

network of Internet services and the Xbox

"Microsoft has always been focused on unlocking the power of computing to help people realize their full potential," Gates said. "Through innovative new devices, ubiquitous connectivity and personalized services, we are continuing to deliver on that mission, and on the promise of the Digital Decade for consumers around the globe."

New SPOT Watches Introduced

The highlight of Gates' device-rich showcase was the unveiling of the first line of personal accessories based on Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology, which is designed to enhance everyday devices through easy-to-use software. Demonstrating how software can transform everyday devices, Fossil Inc., Suunto and Citizen Watch Co. Ltd. unveiled an advanced new generation of watches built using SPOT. With compelling features such as customizable watch faces, access to personal messages and appointments, and the ability to receive up-to-date news, traffic, weather and sports information, the watches, expected to be available in fall 2003, are the first wave of smart objects that extend the power of personal computing in a natural and fashionable way.

"In combining Fossil's fashion branding expertise with Microsoft's innovative wireless delivery system of personalized Web content, we are ushering in an exciting new era in the watch industry and the most significant development since the invention of the quartz movement some 30 years ago," said Donald R. Brewer, vice president of technology at Fossil. "Of all the devices in our lives today, the watch is the only device that people choose to actually wear and today, the watch just got smart."

More information on SPOT and this week's announcements can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/spot/ .

During his keynote address, Gates demonstrated a wide range of smart devices from Microsoft and its industry partners:

  • Gates unveiled a prototype of a new portable media player device platform code-named "Media2Go" that will give consumers on-the-go access to their digital video, music and photos. Microsoft is working with Intel Corp. on a reference design, and the company is teaming up with leading consumer electronics companies, including Samsung Electronics. Co. Ltd., ViewSonic Corp., SANYO and iRiver to deliver "Media2Go" devices in the future.

  • Building on Microsoft's strategy of providing flexible and widely compatible software for wireless computing, Gates demonstrated new Pocket PCs from Samsung and Hitachi, which include innovations such as a built-in keyboard and digital camera. The devices are among the first to use the CDMA version of Microsoft® Pocket PC Phone Edition software.

  • Gates helped launch Windows Powered Smart Displays by announcing the retail availability of the ViewSonic air panel V110 and V150 and emphasizing their new home-control functionality, which enables consumers to control appliances from anywhere in the home.* He also showed the Philips DesXcape 150DM, expected to be available in the United States the first week of February. At this year's CES, Microsoft also announced that BenQ Corp. and Samsung Electronics have joined a growing number of industry leaders committed to delivering Smart Displays. Finally, Microsoft said it will collaborate with HP on the development of future Smart Display applications for the home.

  • Microsoft announced new consumer solutions for Windows XP Media Center Edition, which expand the possibilities for consumers to enjoy their favorite media experiences. These include laptop configurations from Toshiba's Computer Systems Group and Alienware Corp., and the first Media Center PC from ViewSonic. Tagar Systems and iBUYPOWER Computer also announced forthcoming consumer electronics designs.

Gates highlighted the continued momentum of Windows XP, noting that over 89 million licenses have been sold on new PCs and through retail upgrades and full packaged product since the October 2001 launch making it the fastest-selling operating system in history. Gates also showcased how software continues to enhance the devices people use every day in the home, highlighting innovative devices using Microsoft Windows CE and Windows XP Embedded, including the Exertris Interactive Exercise Bike, which includes the world's first interactive gaming workout cycle, and the Bernina Artista 200E sewing and embroidery system, which combines computerized stitching and embroidering with the ability to download motifs and stitches from the Internet.

Gates also demonstrated home video content created with the new Windows Movie Maker 2 for users of Windows XP on a Polaroid prototype DVD player. The player, which utilizes hardware from Aeon Digital Corp., and Equator Technologies Inc.'s Tetra platform, is the first to support Windows Media® Video 9, offering high-definition playback at nearly three times the resolution of DVD. He also showcased the first shipping Panasonic DVD player to support HighMAT technology, a dramatically improved way to store, arrange and play back digital media on recordable discs such as CD-R and CD-RW. The new technology speeds startup times and enables consistent, easy navigation across a broad range of consumer electronics devices.

A number of innovations announced at CES further demonstrated the growing value of software in the home. Microsoft and Thomson Multimedia announced that Thomson's future digital televisions will incorporate Microsoft Windows CE software, allowing consumers to access digital media stored on their PC and creating new experiences for connecting PCs and televisions. Also, Microsoft's Automotive Business Unit and its partners showcased a Toyota Sequoia SUV outfitted with a host of today's hottest technologies, including in-dash systems such as the Clarion Joyride, a Windows Powered Pocket PC, a Windows Powered Smartphone and an Xbox in the back seat.

In his keynote address, Gates showed how the combination of great content and innovative software is leading to a new generation of smart consumer services. Joining Gates to highlight this trend was Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O'Neal, who demonstrated the power of online gaming by playing a game of "Midtown Madness® 3," a new title for the Xbox Live™ ** online game service, demonstrated for the first time at this year's CES. Since the introduction of Xbox Live less than two months ago, more than 250,000 starter kits have been sold. Gamers have flocked to the world's first broadband gaming arena fully dedicated to online gaming, spending an average of 2.5 hours per day playing online and peaking at 8 p.m. PST an hour typically spent watching prime-time television.

Gates also reviewed the highlights and momentum of MSN 8, which recently earned the prestigious Good Housekeeping Seal after rigorous testing and research by the Good Housekeeping Institute. Good Housekeeping magazine has granted its Seal to outstanding products for nearly 100 years, and MSN 8 is the first Internet software to earn the award.

Smart Connectivity Makes It Possible

Noting the converging trends of rapidly growing Internet usage and an expanding range of intelligent devices, Gates reviewed a number of advances in networking technology that help consumers keep in touch, stay informed and be entertained:

  • During the keynote address, Microsoft unveiled DirectBand(TM), a set of innovative technologies for the transmission of Web-based information to smart objects. DirectBand includes a custom radio receiver chip, a wide area network based on FM subcarrier technology and new radio protocols created specifically to meet the unique communication requirements of smart objects. Through this technology, SPOT-based devices can be updated continuously with new information and personalized content.

  • Microsoft also announced the OEM and mobile operator availability of its Pocket PC and Smartphone software for CDMA networks, the most broadly deployed type of mobile phone network in the United States. The new release complements existing software for GSM networks and enables broader adoption of wireless services by U.S. subscribers.

  • Gates reiterated Microsoft's commitment to help make wireless access prevalent and accessible, noting that Windows XP includes built-in support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth™ technologies to make wireless connections easier, and that Microsoft Broadband Networking makes it simpler than ever for consumers and small offices to set up a wireless network. These products help customers share their broadband Internet connection with all the PCs in their homes.

Concluding his presentation, Gates offered a glimpse of the future of smart living in the Digital Decade with a demonstration, created specifically for CES, that showed how all these smart devices, services and connectivity options will come together in the coming years.

"In the Digital Decade, we're starting to see computing technology move beyond being merely useful: it's becoming a significant and essential part of everyday life," Gates said. "The potential for all these exciting devices, smart objects and services to enrich and enhance the way we live is truly amazing."

"2003 promises to be an exciting year for the consumer electronics industry," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. "We're pleased to have Microsoft's chief software architect return for the sixth year as a keynote speaker at the International CES, and we're proud to continue our ongoing relationship with Microsoft to advance the state of the art and push our industries forward."

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software any time, any place and on any device.

* Normal operating range will cover all of most houses, but range may vary depending on manufacturer hardware, connection speed and environmental conditions.

** Connect-time fees may apply.

Microsoft, Windows, MSN, Xbox, Windows Media, Midtown Madness, Xbox Live and DirectBand are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The Bluetooth trademarks are owned by its proprietor and used by Microsoft under license.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .

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