June 14, 2006 For a company known for its software. Microsoft is doing pretty well in the hardware stakes - it just happens to manufacture more keyboards and mice than any other company on Planet Earth. So it was significant that the upcoming availability of a new line of Microsoft webcams was announced today. Microsoft’s extensive consumer research was the reason for the new hardware development as it revealed that computer users would use webcams if they were easier to operate and provided better audio and video quality. The research showed that the world’s population is quite keen to avail itself of the personal communication possibilities of the personal computer and the global network. To counter those perceived frustrations with existing webcam hardware, Microsoft Hardware and Windows Live joined forces to develop a line of LifeCams, the first of which are the LifeCam VX-6000 and LifeCam VX-3000.
“These new products are more than just webcams, they are LifeCams, a true-to-life communications experience allowing people to communicate in different places with the people they want to reach, easier than ever before,” said Jeremy Hinton, Hardware Product Marketing Manager for the Entertainment and Devices Division of Microsoft Australia.
“By tapping into a network of more than 180 million people currently using MSN Messenger, in almost every country in the world, this integrated approach will give people the power to have a richer digital communications experience.”
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 their 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 develop Windows Live we're looking for innovative solutions that bring relationships to life. Our internal business partnership with Microsoft's Hardware team is helping us to deliver on our promise of bringing people closer to the people, content and communications that matters most to them," said Kate Beddoe, Head of Windows Live at ninemsn.
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 mega pixels interpolated), high definition video (1.3 mega pixels) 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 1.3 megapixel (interpolated) still photography and brilliant640x480 video (pixels).
Both LifeCams feature a built-in acoustic noise cancelling 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 personalise and enhance the background of video conversations. A Universal Attachment Base is also included for easy and secure attachment to virtually any size monitor.
Continuing its commitment to enhance digital communications experiences, Microsoft will introduce additional LifeCam products designed to meet the growing needs of people on the go and the expanding digital communications landscape.
The new Microsoft LifeCams will be available in August 2006 for US$100 (VX-6000) and US$50(VX-3000).