NUREMBERG and HANOVER, Germany, March 2 /PRNewswire/ --

- Expansive new release to include support for Intel(R) processors.

Microsoft Corp announced the next wave of its automotive business with its next-generation in-vehicle platform and expanded partner programme. The upcoming release of the Microsoft Auto software platform will be available to automakers and suppliers this spring. This will be the most comprehensive release ever, and will expand its hardware support to include Intel(R) Architecture processors. In this wave, Microsoft is also unveiling a new worldwide partner programme, including platform training partners to provide technical education on Microsoft Auto to help automakers and suppliers deliver the next innovations in vehicle infotainment, navigation and communication devices. Microsoft Auto development partners are demonstrating a breadth of solutions on the flexible platform at the embedded world 2009 and CeBIT shows this week.


The automotive industry is at an inflection point, where software plus services will redefine the future of the in-vehicle experience, and innovation is the new currency, said Tom Phillips, general manager of the Microsoft Automotive Business Unit. The challenge facing automakers is how to quickly and affordably bring innovative in-car solutions and services to their customers. The Microsoft Auto platform is the critical component to meet that challenge.

Microsoft Announces Next-Generation Automotive Platform

To reduce the cost of development, and to allow automakers to focus on delivering the most innovative products to their customers, the Microsoft Auto platform is evolving to meet the new needs of the auto industry. By incorporating common head unit functionality into Microsoft Auto 4.0, such as a standard interface for broadcast radio tuners and standard support for CD playback and ripping, developers now can create integrated multifunction systems with reduced complexity, lower cost and faster time to market. To provide more flexibility of design, Microsoft Auto 4.0 also expands its hardware support from ARM- and SH-based processors to include support for Intel(R) Architecture processors, including the newest options for the Intel(R) Atom(TM) processor Z5xx series that offer an industrial temperature range. This expanded hardware support gives automakers and suppliers even greater choice and improved scalability of design.

The latest Intel(R) Atom Processor is ideally suited for in-vehicle infotainment platforms with its high-performance, low-power characteristics and support for industrial temperature requirements. With support for this processor in Microsoft Auto 4.0, our automotive customers now have more choice in how they bring their products to market and more quickly meet the demand for connected, multimedia rich applications, said Staci Palmer, director, In-Vehicle Infotainment, Low Power Embedded Products Division, Intel.

Microsoft Enhances Its Partner Community and Delivers Broader Global Training Programme

As the use of Microsoft Auto platform continues to rapidly grow, so has the demand for technology partners that can deliver innovative new applications and services. The new partner programme provides simplified discovery of qualified independent software vendors (ISVs), system integrators (SIs) and hardware vendors. Providing technical training and support for this growing partner community is also at the forefront of the expanding Microsoft Auto partner programme. Microsoft welcomes BSQUARE Corp, MPC Data Ltd and Elektrobit Corp as the first Microsoft Auto certified training partners.

Partner Ecosystem on Display at embedded world

The embedded world show in Nuremberg, Germany, features components from six Microsoft Auto partners. These partners include K2L GmbH, which provides MOST integration support to connect advanced vehicle network systems with the infotainment system, and NAVIGON AG and Elektrobit (EB), which continue to innovate and advance their navigation systems to ensure the driver has access to real-time information and can find destinations more quickly. NAVIGON's automotive navigation solution MN Auto provides the innovation of its consumer portable navigation device products for the automotive industry. EB will show the first Live Search for Devices (LS4D) integration optimised for Microsoft Auto with its EB street director navigation solution. Nuance Communications Inc will be demonstrating its latest intelligent speech recognition technology, one shot destination entry, which allows the car to recognise multiple commands in a single phrase to maximise user friendliness. Continental AG demonstrates real-time information delivery with its new internet radio application built into its Microsoft Auto-based Multi Media Platform (MMP). And Magneti Marelli will feature an automotive-grade in-dash computer with multiple technological functions including internet connectivity, integrated navigation and wireless connectivity for external devices.

We support our partners who are adding key applications from navigation to networking, new speech solutions and more, enabling them to tailor their systems to the individual needs of their customers, said Carmelo Morgano, director of the Microsoft Automotive Business Unit Europe. Together, Microsoft and its partners offer the complete in-car entertainment, information and connectivity experience that drivers are demanding today.

Infotainment System on the Road: Continued Momentum Shown at CeBIT

BlueMe from Fiat Group Automobiles is built on the Microsoft Auto platform and equips cars of the Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Fiat brands. The system is easy to use, and is adaptable to evolving customer needs. Fiat's latest application, eco:Drive, underlines the extensibility and upgradeability of Microsoft Auto-powered infotainment systems. Most BlueMe-equipped Fiats can be upgraded to run eco:Drive by downloading the software from the internet and installing it in the car via using a simple USB stick. It allows the driver to collect data on acceleration, deceleration, gear shifting and speed that can be analysed at home in a dedicated eco:Drive portal. eco:Drive delivers a detailed analysis of how to improve the individual drive style to save carbon dioxide emissions and consume less gas. Over 700,000 BlueMe systems have been sold so far, 70,000 of which have been BlueMe Nav, with an average take up of some 30 per cent. The company's most recent application, concierge for cars, based on BlueMe Nav was showcased on a Lancia Delta at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, as example of state-of-the-art infomobility for automotive. Eco:Drive and concierge for cars are two applications that confirm the strong potential of this Microsoft Auto-platform based solution.

Microsoft's latest solutions in the Automotive Market can be seen at either fair:

* CeBIT, Hannover Fairground, Hall 4, Booth A 26, Hannover, Germany * embedded world, Exhibition Centre Nuremberg, Hall 11, Booth 414, Nuremberg, Germany

Microsoft Automotive Business Unit

The Microsoft Automotive Business Unit is a dedicated partner to the auto industry, providing innovative technologies and flexible software platforms to help deliver simple, more reliable and cost-effective in-car infotainment systems. Developed closely with automakers and automotive suppliers, the award-winning Microsoft Auto and Windows Automotive software platforms connect drivers with a wide range of devices, services and technology while on the go, including hands-free communication, mobile device integration, customised navigation and high-fidelity digital entertainment. More information can be found at

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