Microsoft demos hybrid computer/phone

Jul 28 2006 - 02:13 PM ET | Smartphone

The line of distinction between a full fledged computer and mobile phone has been blurred with the advent of smartphones and Microsoft is doings its best to continue the trend. The company demoed a prototype product that combines Windows CE and a phone. The device is able to hook into a keyboard and TV to perform PC-like tasks.

Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie thinks this type of device could bring computing to the masses:

"Could this be your first computer? And if it was, what could you do with it?" Mundie asked. He demonstrated word processing, multimedia playback and Web browsing using scaled-down versions of Internet Explorer, Word and Windows Media Player. "For at least simplified applications, it's harder to distinguish this from a computer," he said.

Microsoft has been facing pressure to develop a low-cost PC as emerging markets begin to come online. Nicholas Negroponte founded the One Laptop per Child organization to bring computers to emerging markets, but to cut costs the project is not using any Microsoft software (opting instead for open source apps).