Microsoft Corp. has the latest in computer technology that users can take with them—a monitor that can travel while still connected to a computer.
CEO Bill Gates demonstrated the technology Monday night at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A prototype monitor from Viewsonic Corp. codenamed "Mira," the technology is based on Windows CE.Net and uses the 802.11b wireless LAN protocol to maintain a connection between the monitor and the computer.
Users will be able to surf the Internet, play games, and do basic text input and stylus functions the way they would with a PDA, only the screen is easier to read and can always hook back up to the PC for full computing power.
"Mira does for the PC what the cordless handset did for the telephone," said Todd Warren, general manager of the embedded appliance platforms group at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash.
Viewsonic will be launching an 18-inch monitor based on Mira in time for the 2002 holiday season, Warren said. Intel Corp. and National Semiconductor Corp. will be building products built on Mira as well, Warren said.
Gates also plans in his keynote to show several other devices based on Windows CE.Net, including upcoming smart phones from Samsung Electronics America Inc., Cyberbank Co. and Sendo Corp.
The first two will be based on the initial CE.Net platform with applications built on top, while the one from Sendo will be based on Stinger, which is Microsofts customized smart phone operating system. Stinger has had some trouble gaining foothold in the market and the company may have better luck with licensing the basics of CE.Net and letting compa-nies customize their own operating systems.
"We provide the underlying platforms," Warren said. "Some can choose Stinger and some can choose to build on CE.Net."