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Thursday, 14 March, 2002, 09:55 GMT
MS Windows in every room
The screen can be used anywhere, MS
Mira technology works with Windows XP
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By BBC News Online's Ivan Noble
at CeBIT 2002 in Hanover
Microsoft wants to put its Windows operating system in every room in the home.

Company executives, including CEO Steve Ballmer, have been promoting its Mira technology at the CeBIT 2002 fair in Hanover.

Mira is designed to give Windows users the ability to lift a flat screen display off a PC and continue using it in another room.

A Mira screen could allow a home user to carry on browsing the internet in the kitchen, or, as a promotional video suggests, take some digital reading material along to the bathroom.

Microsoft mobile computing manager Todd Warren said Mira devices would be priced about $500, not much more than a standard flat screen display.

"We're aiming at this Christmas," he told BBC News Online.

Wireless displays

The Mira screens require a PC user to be running the latest version of Microsoft's operating system, Windows XP.

We want to be helping people more hours a day

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO
The technology behind the idea is well established. Internally, the screens are like large Pocket PCs, using Microsoft's Windows CE operating system and a wireless link to talk to the base computer.

But Microsoft hopes they will persuade people to use PCs in new ways, e-mailing or browsing from every room in the house.

Later versions of the Mira screens would support video streams, Mr Ballmer said.

If this becomes reality, PC users could play DVDs on their machines and view them anywhere in the house.

The Mira idea is part of Microsoft's push to extend Windows' reach and make it part of entertainment technology.

"We want to be helping people more hours a day and we want them to be getting more value per hour," Mr Ballmer told journalists at the German trade fair.

Going mobile

The Mira promotion came as Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom.

"We want to be the market leaders in Germany and in Europe," said Deutsche Telekom's Ron Sommer, announcing the deal on a joint platform with Steve Ballmer.

The display is detachable on this Mira PC, MS
Sleek look for the PC
Deutsche Telekom will base a product called T.Net around Microsoft's .Net technology, designed to provide the backroom glue for mobile business computing.

And it will work with Microsoft on the design of mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

Mr Ballmer also gave details of other Microsoft tie-ups with electronics manufacturers building the Mira devices and with leading German business software maker SAP.

BBC News Interactive reports from the CeBIT technology fair in Hanover





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