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European Companies Support Microsoft's Portable Media Centers
Mar 18, 2004
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Microsoft Corp. has announced that European entertainment companies EMI Music and Napster LLC will support Microsoft(R) Windows Mobile(TM)-based Portable Media Centers. The hand-held entertainment devices allow users to watch digital movies and recorded television, view photos, and listen music portably. Microsoft also announced that hardware manufacturers Creative Technology Ltd. and iRiver International will make Portable Media Centers available in Europe by the end of this year.

The devices were originally unveiled by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. The software company also announced North American support for digital entertainment from CinemaNow, Napster, and EMI Music in January.

"Portable Media Centers give people the freedom to take their entertainment from their PC wherever they go," said Todd Warren, corporate vice president of the Embedded Devices Group at Microsoft. "With entertainment content available from powerhouses like EMI Music and Napster, European consumers will have access to a variety of movies, TV programs, and music that they can transfer to their Portable Media Centers."

Microsoft will localize Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Centers to allow manufacturing partners to ship devices in Europe, Asia, and North America in the second half of 2004. Language support will include English (U.S., UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden), French (Belgium, France, and Luxembourg), Spanish (Spain), Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese (China and Taiwan).

"Creative and Microsoft have worked closely together to bring this exciting new era of digital entertainment to reality," said Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of hand-held device maker Creative Technology. "With devices like the Creative Zen Portable Media Center, people can quickly and easily transfer video, music, and photos from a PC, creating a whole new way for people to enjoy their entertainment."

iRiver has also announced that the iRiver PMC-100 will be available in the second half of 2004 in Europe. A 20-GB (PMC-120) and a 40-GB (PMC-140) version will be available.

Samsung Electronics, SANYO Electric Co. Ltd., and ViewSonic Corp. have also agreed to build Portable Media Centers.

EMI Music will extend its support of Portable Media Centers to include Europe. EMI is the third-largest music company in the world, and has an international presence in nearly 70 countries. Napster, one of the world's most recognized brands in online music, will launch the European version of its music store this summer

According to Microsoft, Portable Media Centers are ideal devices for commuters and travelers who want to pass their time enjoying the entertainment they want, when they want. Users can move content from Windows(R) XP-based PCs to Portable Media Centers using Smart Sync technology, which provides a direct link between Windows Media(R) Player on a PC and Portable Media Centers. By using Smart Sync technology, Windows Media Audio (WMA), and Video 9 Series compression technology, Microsoft says consumers can transfer up to 175 hr of video, 10,000 songs, or as many as 100,000 pictures to Portable Media Centers from their Windows XP-based PC.

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