Microsoft Hardware Advances Digital Communications Experiences
June 13, 2006
First webcams from Microsoft make seeing, hearing and sharing a breeze.
REDMOND, Wash. — Seeing your grandchild’s first steps from miles away. Hearing your friend’s laugh from across the country. Sharing your dorm room decorating skills with your parents back home. Those are the moments and experiences that will become the hallmark of Microsoft® LifeCams, an innovative new line of webcams that dramatically simplifies the video communications experience to let people see, hear and share life’s experiences in an extraordinary way.
Consumer research1 has revealed that people want to stay connected, and many would use webcams if they were easier to operate and provided better audio and video quality. To counter those frustrations, Microsoft Hardware and the Windows Live team have joined forces to introduce a line of LifeCams starting with the LifeCam VX-6000 and LifeCam VX-3000.
These next-generation webcams provide groundbreaking video and audio quality that opens the door for richer digital communications experiences. Optimized for use with Windows Live™ Messenger, the world’s largest instant messaging network,2 LifeCams meet the growing demand for easier, more meaningful connections.
“Each month, people spend more than 1 billion minutes in Windows Live video conversations. It’s clear that consumers are now embracing technologies that support relationship-centered digital communications,” said Tom Gibbons, vice president of the Consumer Productivity Experiences Group at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft Hardware and Windows Live are defining that movement with a new approach to integrated products and services that give consumers the power to have a richer digital communications experience and make everyday events extraordinary.”
Optimized for Windows Live Messenger
The first two available webcams, the Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 and Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000, bring a new dimension to Windows Live Messenger and feature exclusive industry firsts that streamline the webcam experience:
• Windows Live Call Button. Located on the top of each LifeCam, the Windows Live Call Button makes placing a video call a breeze by eliminating the usual multiple steps. Just one touch brings up the Buddy Picker, a tool that shows users only current online buddies. They simply select their contact’s name and they are on their way to making a video call.
• LifeCam Dashboard. Built right into the Windows Live Messenger window for easy access during video calling, the LifeCam Dashboard provides simple access to the controls people need most, including pan, tilt and zoom. Now users’ attention stays where it should be — on their video conversation.
• One-touch blogging. Windows Live Spaces is one of the fastest-growing blog communities in the world, with more than 50 million individual Spaces. Now, users can post High Definition LifeCam pictures directly to their Windows Live Space blog with one click from within the LifeCam window.
“As we look to further develop Windows Live to meet the changing communications needs of consumers, it made sense to extend our partner ecosystem to include internal businesses that deliver solutions that bring relationships to life online,” said Martin Taylor, corporate vice president of Windows Live and MSN at Microsoft. “Our work with the Microsoft Hardware team will play a significant role in the growth of Windows Live Messenger and help us deliver on our promise of deepening people’s relationships with whomever and whatever matters most to them.”
Easy to See, Hear and Share
The new Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 is a top-of-the-line wired webcam providing the highest quality still photography on the market (5.0 megapixels interpolated), High Definition video (1.3 megapixels)3 and 3x digital zoom. A 71-degree wide-angle lens allows enough room for up to three people to join in the conversation. The Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 offers High Definition still photography (1.3 megapixels interpolated) and brilliant video (640x480 pixels).
Both LifeCams feature a built-in acoustic noise-canceling microphone to ensure crystal-clear audio performance without adding clutter from extra headsets or external microphones. In addition, both new LifeCams come with fun Video Effects, such as falling snowflakes and twinkling stars, to personalize and enhance the background of video conversations. The LifeCams also have a Universal Attachment Base for easy and secure attachment to virtually any size monitor.
Continuing its commitment to enhance digital communications experiences, Microsoft will introduce additional LifeCam products in September 2006 designed to meet the growing needs of people on the go and the expanding digital communications landscape.
Pricing and Availability
The new Microsoft LifeCams introduced today will be widely available in August 2006 for the following estimated retail prices:4
• Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000: $99.95 (U.S.)
• Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000: $49.95 (U.S.)
LifeCams can currently be purchased on Amazon.com and will be shipped in August when the product is available. Microsoft Hardware and Windows Live will continue their commitment of providing innovative hardware and software solutions that bring experiences to life with additional digital communications products later this year.
About MSN and Windows Live
MSN® attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.
About Microsoft Hardware
For more than two decades, the Hardware Group has employed innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that enhance the software experience and strengthen the connection between consumers and their PC. Microsoft Hardware leads the industry in ergonomic engineering, industrial design, and hardware/software compatibility, offering consumers an easier, more convenient and more enjoyable computing experience. Microsoft IntelliMouse® Explorer, which launched in 1999, earned a place on PCWorld.com’s list of “The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years” as the first mainstream optical mouse that “brought gunk-free pointing devices” to a broad consumer base.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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