Auto Service World
News   December 6, 2001   by Auto Service World

Computing-to-Go Gets Facelift

Microsoft Corp. has introduced the Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 software platform, calling it a milestone in the in-car computing industry.
Microsoft Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 delivers enhancements in key areas such as hands-free and eyes-free communications, with improved speech recognition; more robust graphics capabilities, including faster map drawing; faster startup times; and reliable Internet access.
Each improvement provides real-time flexibility and is designed to advance in-car safety, communications and information, says the company.
Windows CE’s open architecture allows developers to select the hardware platform, user interface and overall graphical personality that best meet their needs. In addition, this new platform fosters timely, manageable, cost-effective client platforms for the embedded automotive industry.
“We’ve invested a considerable amount of time and resources in creating an open platform that allows developers to build rich, powerful and comprehensive devices from a compact footprint,” said Bob McKenzie, general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft. “Auto manufacturers and suppliers will also appreciate the enhanced features in the Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 telematics platform that make it cost-effective, easy to develop to, and able to fit every price tag and car model.” New and improved features in Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 include the following: —
Streamlined graphical user interface; hardware-independent tools, functionality and “skinnable” graphics enable designers to easily customize the appearance of their systems to different car lines.
Hands-free communication interface. Drivers and passengers can now speak more naturally and directly to devices using simple voice commands. The completely rebuilt speech engine supports the latest human-like speech interaction enabled by text-to-speech technology.
Platform foundation. A new platform configuration enables developers to create a compact solution for devices with limited storage capacity. They can start with a small base and, from there, build as much or as little as required by the automaker.
Power management. A fast and reliable power-management architecture eliminates the need for a backup battery, and ensures rapid startup and shutdown without data loss.
Customizable developer tools. Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 provides developers with flexible, scalable building blocks from which they can choose a variety of development systems — such as ActiveX Controls and Visual Basic — to create low-end to high-end applications based on car manufacturer requirements.
Microsoft Mobile Explorer. This compact and efficient version of the Internet Explorer browser provides motorists with valuable access to the wireless “information highway.”
In additon, there are a number of enhancements to the previous version of the operating system.
“Due to our strong relationship with Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit, we are very pleased with the recent enhancements to Windows CE for Automotive 3.5,” said Klaus Dieterich, general manager at Bosch Blaupunkt, a worldwide leader in advanced automotive electronics. “Power management and faster booting times were top features on our wish list, and Microsoft delivered. Microsoft’s technological leadership, coupled with its commitment to the automotive industry, drove our decision to use Windows CE for Automotive as the platform of choice for our future devices.”

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