At his pre-CES keynote yesterday, Microsoft's chairman Bill Gates announced new products and partnerships aimed at integrating PCs more tightly with users' lives. As EE Times reports, the new products include Windows Home Server, an operating system designed to "help households with multiple PCs easily connect their digital experiences." The OS will have a host of features for automated backups, centralized storage, and online file sharing. The first Windows Home Server-powered system will come out in the second half of this year in the form of HP's MediaSmart Server. As we mentioned earlier, the MediaSmart server will feature an AMD processor and AMD Live! Home Media Server certification.
Along with Windows Home Server, Gates announced a partnership with Ford whereby the car maker will integrate Microsoft-based software dubbed Sync in its upcoming cars. Sync will allow motorists to control cell phones, storage devices, and MP3 players by voice. Using phones, for instance, users will be able to dictate phone numbers, synchronize their address books, and have text messages read out through the car's speakers. Sync will show up in 12 of Ford's upcoming cars in the second half of this year. By 2009, Ford expects all of its cars and trucks to integrate the software.
Also at the keynote, Gates announced miscellaneous new features that will find their way into Windows Vista. The features include Windows Media Center SportsLounge, which will offer high-definition video streams of sports games, and functionality that will allow users to use an Xbox 360 controller to play PC games and control Windows applications.
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