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By Chris De Herrera 
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Bill Gates COMDEX Keynote: The Strategic Role of the Pocket PC
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2000
 Revised November 12, 2000
As published on Microsoft's Website

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Pocket PCs are being used in business and are supported in the Microsoft®.NET strategy. Also, don’t be surprised to see the user interface in a future PC operating system.

Fast Web Development

Before Bill Gate’s keynote speech, interviews played with various companies that are using Microsoft products for Web sites. They focused on companies that delivered Web sites in very short timeframes. This included GMAC which created and launched their site in an incredible 60 days! GMAC tech support staff use the Pocket PC in the field.

Wireless Video Conference Call

It was cool to see another interesting “infomercial” with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates having fun with technology concepts at the grocery store. They would pick up fruit and a woman’s voice would say when the fruit was ripe! During their shopping spree, Bill Gates received a video conference call from his secretary on his iPAQ! Now that would be a cool feature to add to a Pocket PC.

Updated Media Player

During Bill’s discussion about future technologies, he discussed the new beta for Microsoft Windows Media Player™ for the Pocket PC. The new version of Windows Media Player allows you to play streaming videos on your Pocket PC. This is another cool feature that your Pocket PC will be able to do.

Whistler Adopts Pocket PC UI

During the keynote, Bill was showing the new Tablet PC. They demonstrated it running the unannounced next generation PC operating system code named “Whistler.” Bill pointed out that the user interface looks similar to the Pocket PC. So when you see Whistler in the press, you’ll see a similar flat user interface like the Pocket PC has!

Software to Software (aka Microsoft.NET)

Bill also spoke about the next step in the evolution of computing after the Web paradigm. He believes that people want data from multiple sources that is filtered based on their criteria so that they get the details they want rather than additional stuff they do not need.

XML plays a pivotal role in allowing companies to share content using software-to-software communications. This concept basically allows the user interface to be separate from the data source. The really cool part about this is that the Pocket PC is included as a client to this paradigm. So if a developer uses the Microsoft® Visual Studio®.NET tools to create an online page, it will work on Pocket PCs as a rich client. This is another example of how Microsoft is including the Pocket PC in their overall product strategy.


Bill Gates continued to demonstrate the functionality and usefulness of the Pocket PC. While this was not the main focus of his discussion, I learned about new features that Microsoft is adding to Windows Media Player. Also, Microsoft has included the Pocket PC in their Microsoft.NET plans and supports it as a rich client.

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