Information Today
Volume 17, Number 6 • June 2000
Microsoft and Partners Launch Pocket PC with Microsoft Reader

On April 19, in New York’s Grand Central Station, Microsoft Corp. announced the availability of the Pocket PC and joined industry partners to herald a “new era of truly personal computing.” Microsoft president and CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled new Pocket PC designs from hardware partners Casio Computer Co., Ltd.; Compaq Computer Corp.; Hewlett-Packard Co.; and Symbol Technologies, Inc. According to the announcement, he put the devices to the test through demonstrations showcasing their wireless, enterprise, and cutting-edge gaming and video capabilities. More than 60 companies displayed their Pocket PC solutions in the Launch Partner Pavilion.

“It’s an amazing time in mobile computing, and we’re just getting started,” Ballmer said. “Technology is innovating at a rapid pace, and the Pocket PC is a great example of how, today, we are bringing the productivity, performance, and power of a PC in a pocket-sized device to enable true anytime, anywhere access to information.”

Pocket PCs include a broad range of native business, personal productivity, and entertainment applications yet can be expanded to adapt to each customer’s changing needs through a growing number of industry-standard hardware and software expansion options. Pocket PCs currently come with the following software: Pocket Outlook, a personal information manager (PIM) with calendar, contacts, inbox, tasks, and notes; Pocket Internet Explorer, with “Shrink-to-Fit” capability that dynamically resizes a Web site for viewing on a small screen; Pocket Word and Excel; Microsoft Money for Pocket PC; Pocket Streets (maps); Windows Media Player, which according to the announcement is the first portable media player that plays both Windows Media Format and MP3; and Microsoft Reader with Microsoft ClearType display technology, which reportedly approaches the convenience and quality of reading text that’s printed on paper.

With Microsoft Reader, users are able to download entire books and read them at their leisure. Three electronic titles come pre-loaded on the Pocket PCs, and almost 30 classic public-domain titles are included on a CD-ROM that comes with the devices. However, the majority of content for the Microsoft Reader won’t be available until the end of this year. Also toward the end of the year, Barnes & Noble will be offering Microsoft Reader content for purchase. The full version of Microsoft Reader, which will include software for creating and securely distributing Reader titles, is not yet available.

Windows-powered Pocket PCs are available online and in stores. Pocket PC prices are set by the hardware manufacturers but are expected to range from $299 to $599, similar to previous Windows-powered units.

Source: Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, 425/882-8080;

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