FRAMINGHAM (03/02/2000) - Who says palm-sized PCs are just for keeping your schedule? Microsoft Corp. is looking to provide a little audio entertainment for devices running its Windows CE operating system, with the release of Windows Media Player for personal digital assistants (PDAs).
The new version of the player lets users download MP3 and Windows Media Format audio files to the latest Compaq, Casio and Hewlett-Packard palm-sized computers. With a 64M-byte flash memory card, users can store up to two hours of Windows Media Format content or one hour of the popular MP3 audio.
While Microsoft is targeting the consumer looking to download digital music from the Internet, the WinCE version of Windows Media Player can also be used for corporate communications, says Michael Aldridge, product manager for Microsoft's digital media division. Companies can distribute CEO speeches and training information to users, who can then transfer the audio files to their WinCE device using Microsoft's Windows Media Manager.
Users can also convert just about any audio format to the Windows Media Format using the Windows Media Encoder.
So instead of sending CDs to remote sites containing audio files, companies can distribute the information across a network and have users listen on their desktops or palm PC devices. "From a production standpoint, it is easier to distribute information across the Internet in real time than to record the audio, burn a CD and ship it out through snail mail," Aldridge says.
Though the desktop version of Windows Media Player supports audio and video, it will be a while before users can watch videos on their PDAs, Aldridge says.
The Windows Media Player, Encoder and Manager can be downloaded free at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia.com/.