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November 18, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- COMDEX: Microsoft Announces New Media Center PC Partners
- COMDEX: Microsoft Announces New Office 11 Family Member
- The Microsoft Mobility Tour Is Coming Soon to a City Near You!
- Give Us Your Feedback and Be Entered to Win an Xbox
3. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
Microsoft announced today that four new PC-maker partners will sell Media Center PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE). ABS Computer Technologies, Alienware, Cyberpower, and Gateway will unveil new Media Center PC designs this week at COMDEX Fall 2002; the new PCs will be available immediately or within days. Coming just weeks after the XP MCE launch, this announcement is somewhat of a surprise. Microsoft previously said that it was working with other partners on Media Center PCs, but I hadn't expected this many new partners so quickly. And perhaps even more exciting is the news that many of the new Media Center PCs will ship in innovative form factors and a wide range of price points, making the products accessible to more users.
"\[These companies\] recognize the potential of the Media Center PC, and we're pleased at their commitment with Microsoft to deliver a compelling new way for consumers to experience the home PC," said Mike Toutonghi, vice president of the Windows eHome Division. "With the addition of innovative hardware designs and configurations, consumers will be able to enjoy an incredible digital entertainment experience from an expanded selection of media center PCs."
Gateway's Media Center PC is a standard tower design, similar to the machine Hewlett-Packard (HP) released late last month. But Gateway is pushing the envelope with a high-end bundle that features a Media Center PC and a 42" plasma screen for $4000; the PC will be available late this week. Alienware is using the tiny, cube-shaped Shuttle PC form factor, a truly compact design that might be more appealing to consumers than a standard tower. The Alienware system is available now.
During his keynote address at COMDEX Fall 2002, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates unveiled a new Microsoft Office 11 family member: OneNote. The new application takes advantage of the Tablet PC's handwriting-recognition and digital-drawing features but works well with any kind of computer and a variety of input types. OneNote will let Office 11 users capture, record, organize, search, and reuse information in several formats—voice, digital ink, and standard typewritten notes—and keep the information in one place.
"Note-taking is a highly personal process that has not been well supported by computer software," said Jeff Raikes, Microsoft's group vice president of productivity and business services. "OneNote complements individual styles for capturing and organizing thoughts. It pairs the flexibility of a paper notebook with the organizational efficiency of digital content. By creating new applications such as OneNote, we are keeping the Microsoft Office family fresh and making strides to meet our goal of improving information-worker productivity."
OneNote features a tabbed UI that works like a loose-leaf binder, as well as the usual complement of Office toolbars and other tools. Unlike document-based applications, OneNote doesn't require users to manually save information; instead, the application auto-saves on the fly and brings up the last workspace when it's restarted. OneNote will be available as part of Office 11, which is due in mid-2003.
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