Microsoft Corp. sent to testers this week the Beta 2 release of its Wireless Home Networking hardware and software product, which is described much like current wireless gateways. An initial beta program ran until May, and this second beta phase is expected to extend through July. Testers will be asked to return beta kits, but will receive a final version once the product is complete.
"Welcome to the beta 2 release of Microsoft Wireless Home Networking," beta coordinators wrote in an e-mail to testers. "For this beta program, BetaPlace, Email, and Newsgroup services will be available to you. You will be receiving your kit in the mail soon."
As Microsofts first foray into networking hardware, this new product may prove vital to Redmonds efforts to dominate the newly connected living room. Early this year at CES, Microsoft announced new software designed to bridge the gap between personal computing and home entertainment.
With devices from TiVo, Moxi Digital, SonicBlue and even the companys Xbox sporting Internet hookups, it is no surprise that Microsoft plans to establish itself as a network contender. The highly touted and much anticipated Tablet PC architecture is also set to make its debut later this year, and will rely heavily on wireless networking.