Microsoft today announced that together with imaging industry leaders at Photokina 2004 in Cologne, Germany, it will unveil new technologies that use the capabilities of Windows XP to make digital photography easier for all users, from hobbyists to professionals. These new technologies will include the new Microsoft Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), which Canon will support in its future digital camera offerings. A variety of other demonstrations for consumers, professional photographers, and hardware and software vendors will be on display at the Microsoft booth: Hall 10.1, stand A‑010. Photokina 2004 runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3.
New Windows Protocols to Simplify and Enhance Digital Still Camera Connectivity
Microsoft announced it is working with leading digital camera manufacturers that are supporting two new technologies, MTP and Windows Connect Now (WCN), to simplify and enhance the connectivity of digital still cameras to Windows-based PCs.
MTP solves many of the problems inherent to both wireless and wired transfer of digital media such as digital photos, eliminating much of the complexity for photographers and reducing the difficulty for manufacturers of developing device drivers. Implementation of MTP in digital still cameras improves the user experience for digital camera owners and enthusiasts by enabling easier image acquisition to a PC with native support for the technology.
WCN, currently available with Windows XP Service Pack 2, simplifies the installation and configuration of wireless networks as well as the setup of wireless devices that have a limited or no user interface.
Microsoft has received strong industry support for both protocols. Also today, Canon and Microsoft announced that Canon will support MTP in future digital still cameras with wireless capabilities. In addition, Microsoft will be demonstrating the Windows Connect Now technology in its stand at Photokina. Nikon will demonstrate an MTP-enabled wireless digital SLR and consumer digital camera at the Microsoft booth to show the capabilities and benefits of MTP in wireless digital cameras.
New Utility for Wireless Digital Still Cameras Available
To better support existing wireless-enabled digital cameras that use File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Microsoft is developing a free PowerToy utility to simplify the configuration of Windows XP when used with these devices. A preview version of this utility will be available on CD at the Microsoft stand, with an advanced version to be posted on Microsoft’s Web site in the coming weeks.
“The technologies and initiatives we’re showcasing at Photokina illustrate the breadth of benefits that Windows XP brings to digital imaging,” said Charles Mauzy, general manager of the Media/Entertainment & Technology Convergence Group at Microsoft. “As use of personal and professional content on PCs and consumer electronics continually grows and converges, we are committed to ongoing industry collaboration to bring compelling products and services into the digital imaging market.”
Consumer Software for International Markets Debuts
This month Microsoft releases new German- and International English-language versions of its award-winning consumer software, Digital Image Suite 10. Digital Image Suite 10, titled Foto Designer Pro PLUS 10 in the German market, combines the power of two digital imaging software applications — Microsoft Digital Image Library 10, for organization, and Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10, for editing — to offer an end-to-end solution with powerful panoramic stitching in two dimensions, intuitive color-correction tools, even more one-click fixes, and added options for organization and sharing. Microsoft also is releasing an upgrade version of Digital Image Suite 10, which enables users of Works Suite and owners of previous versions of Picture It! or Digital Image Suite to automatically upgrade to Digital Image Suite 10.
Solutions for the Professional Photographic Community
Microsoft is working with top professional photographers to improve and enhance the Windows customer experience and to demonstrate the benefits of Windows XP for a professional workflow. Selected work from three of these photographers will be featured in case studies to be made available at Photokina:
· Steve McCurry. Award-winning documentary photographer, Magnum member and frequent contributor to National Geographic Magazine, Steve McCurry captures the essence of human struggle and joy. His portrait of Sharbat Gula, the previously unidentified Afghan refugee girl, has been described as the most recognizable photograph in the world today.
· Matthew Jordan Smith. Entertainment and celebrity photographer Matthew Jordan Smith has worked with some of today’s most prominent cultural icons, including Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Oprah Winfrey and Angela Bassett. His corporate client list includes L’Oreal, Pantene, Revlon, HBO and Showtime.
· Joyce Tenneson. Among the most respected photographers of our time, Joyce Tenneson has been described as “one of America’s most interesting portrayers of the human character.” Her work has been shown in more than 150 exhibitions worldwide and has graced countless magazine covers for publications such as Time, Life, Newsweek and The New York Times Magazine. She also is the author of 10 books.
The case studies will discuss each photographer’s approach to digital photography and describe how Windows-based solutions from Microsoft and other industry leaders are enabling them to be more productive.
Support for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition
Microsoft also announced it is the digital technology sponsor for the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for 2004. Organized by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum in London, the competition is one of the world’s most respected forums for wildlife photographic art. More than 18,500 images from photographers around the globe have been submitted this year, the first that digital images were accepted for consideration. A select gallery of images will be on display at the Microsoft stand during Photokina. The winners of the 2004 competition will be announced Oct. 21 at the Natural History Museum.
Additional Booth Demonstrations
At Photokina, Microsoft will demonstrate many of its products, technologies and services designed to enable complete digital imaging — from acquiring, editing and organizing photos to sharing photos in new ways, viewing them on a TV screen or mobile device, and more. These include the following:
· Windows XP 64-Bit Edition provides more-efficient processing of extremely large amounts of data, supporting up to 32 GB of physical RAM and 16 terabytes of virtual memory for cutting-edge 64-bit applications, while providing great compatibility with existing 32-bit applications.
· Windows Server System, when used with Extensis Portfolio Server, offers the perfect file management tools for the photographer’s digital workflow with powerful features for automating the process of organizing, accessing and sharing digital photos.
· Digital Image Suite 10 is a complete photo software solution that continues the Microsoft tradition of providing powerful tools that are easy to use. Building on the popularity of Digital Image Suite 9, the International English and German versions of Digital Image Suite 10 combine the power of Microsoft Digital Image Library 10 and
Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10 for a seamless, integrated photography solution for everyone — from the first-time user to the professional.
· Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 was created to deliver the best of both computing and entertainment on a home computer. Consumers can play slide shows of their summer vacation while sitting comfortably on their couch by accessing the show from the computer’s hard disk or by simply inserting a smart media or CompactFlash card or CD to access photos. Users can rotate, zoom in or out on, and print photos, and even remove red-eye with the touch of a button.
· Plus! Photo Story, part of Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition, enables users to share and enjoy their photos in a whole new way. Users can build unique slide shows, complete with narration and music — even automatically add panning and zooming effects — for a spectacular viewing experience that can be easily shared via e-mail, the Web or a Pocket PC, or on home DVD players via video CD.
· MSN Photos, a feature of MSN Premium, lets consumers have more fun with their photos. In addition to enabling consumers to open, save, edit or print photos, MSN Photos makes sharing images with friends and family easier than ever via e-mail or MSN Messenger. MSN Photos also offers professional editorial content, tips and hints for taking better photos.
· Windows Mobile software for Pocket PC and Smartphone devices enable new media and imaging functionality including Windows Media Player, which provides higher-quality audio and video, improved performance, and content-streaming capabilities. Windows Mobile-based Smartphones are available in small, stylish form factors designed for one-handed operation, with all the features consumers expect in a world-class mobile phone.