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Week of March 19, 2006

Brown University, Microsoft Research Open Research Center on Pen-Centric Computing

Alliance to explore pen-based computing.

At a joint press conference later today, Brown University and Microsoft Research will unveil plans for the Microsoft Center for Research on Pen-Centric Computing, which will promote and fund research aimed at improving pen-based operation of Tablet PCs, Pocket PCs, Palm Pilot personal digital assistants, electronic whiteboards and conventional desktop computers. The center is the first academic research program in the nation dedicated to pen-centric computing innovation.

Through the three-year joint research and education alliance, Microsoft Research and Brown University will explore and develop new ways to use pen-like styluses to operate computing devices. Under the alliance, Microsoft Research will invest $1.2 million (U.S.) over the next three years.

“Pen-based computing has the potential to alter the way students and teachers interact,” said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Research at Microsoft Corp. “And together with Brown University, we will create new ways of combining the pen and the computer to positively affect not only the educational process, but our working methods and our culture.”

With the goal of driving innovations that will serve the academic community as a whole, researchers at Brown will investigate new ways for computers to recognize and interpret handwritten input. Faculty, students and research staff will also create and test new software that recognizes notations in mathematics, chemistry, art and design, and other fields that have well-developed notational styles. The software would allow the data to be stored as digital ink and shared as handwriting, sketches or text. Programs will also allow for exciting, instantaneous data transformations — for example, turning the symbolic notation of a sketched molecule into a 3-D model of that molecule that the user can view from any vantage point.

Andries van Dam, Brown’s vice president for research and a founding member and first chair of the department of computer science, will serve as director of the new center. “In some cases, the pen is mightier than the keyboard,” van Dam said. “Chemists and composers, archeologists and artists all need pen and paper to create and communicate. We want to help them do their work digitally — in a way that is as easy and natural as drawing on paper.”

Brown has been an early pioneer in pen-based computing. For more than a decade, Brown researchers have designed and tested gesture-recognition software, including prototype applications that recognize music, mathematics and chemistry notations. Microsoft has provided partial funding for these initial efforts.

Microsoft understands that academia is at the heart of technological innovation and seeks to catalyze innovation in research and curricula in leading academic institutions worldwide. Today’s announcement reflects Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to partnering with academia in developing new and advanced technologies. The center joins three other institutes formed in collaboration with Microsoft Research. (Source: Press Release)

Posted Monday, March 20 2006 by ChrisD
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Omega One Announces Microsoft and Dell distribution agreements

Sammamish, WA — March 20th 2006 —Omega One, a leading provider of consumer applications for Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs and Smartphones, is pleased to announce two distribution agreements for some of its most popular applications.  

Microsoft is retailing in several major retail stores the best selling Omega One application Battery Pack Pro, as well as a slimmed down version of the best selling aftermarket calculator, 1-Calc.  The retail version of Battery Pack Pro can be found in various major US computer stores including CompUSA and Amazon. 

Dell are installing a slimmed down version of the Battery Pack Pro application on new Pocket PCs. Battery Pack Lite is a reduced functionality version that offers Pocket PC users some of the main features of Battery Pack Pro on their new device.  The main features offered in Battery Pack Lite are showing battery, memory and storage information on the today screen, as well as allowing Dell to provide shortcut links to their most popular applications on the today screen.   Dell owners also have the opportunity to upgrade to the full version of Battery Pack Pro.

 “We are delighted by both these distribution relationships” said Andrew Haslam, CEO of Omega One, “The fact that both Microsoft and Dell are offering our products shows that consumers want our applications and find great value in them.  The Microsoft relationship is our first step into the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retail market and may well lead to other retail outlets.  Dell’s decision to install Battery Pack Lite onto new devices shows the level of acceptance that Battery Pack has achieved in the market”

Battery Pack Pro was the top selling Pocket PC application for two straight years.  Omega One’s other top selling products Journal Bar, an Internet content viewer, 1-Calc, a universal calculator, and 1-Pass, a physical security application have all been the top selling products in their categories since release.  Battery Pack Pro and 1-Calc are also available for Smartphones too, as well as a great game bundle 1-GameBag.
Battery Pack Pro v2 is available on www.omegaone.com, www.handango.com, and other leading online retailers.  (Source: Press Release)

Posted Monday, March 20 2006 by ChrisD
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