Microsoft powers a Fiat

Microsoft powers a Fiat

Microsoft's quest for world domination hit a snag with the very entrenched automotive market, but the first signs of a dam break occurred in its partnership with Fiat. At the Geneva Auto Show, Microsoft showed off its Blue&Me system in a Fiat and an Alfa Romeo. As its name suggests, Blue&Me sets up a Bluetooth network for integrating devices such as cell phones and MP3 players. Although there aren't any Bluetooth MP3 players yet, more than 140 cell phones are supported, a much greater number than most carmakers' stingy compatibility lists. But Blue&Me is much more than simple Bluetooth support--it's a whole software architecture with a hardware reference design. The current system, as implemented by Fiat, also supports a voice-command system and a glovebox-mounted USB port. Microsoft's architecture is expandable and upgradable, so different carmakers can offer different applications, and a five-year-old car can have its operating system updated for the latest gizmos.

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About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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