Microsoft® Corp. has launched its Windows® CE for Automotive 3.5 software platform. Microsoft says Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 delivers enhancements in areas such as hands-free and eyes-free communications. Enhancements include improved speech recognition, faster map drawing, faster start-up times and reliable Internet access, according to company officials, who say the new software offers greater flexibility and reliability to companies developing in-car telematics solutions. "We've invested a considerable amount of time and resources in creating an open platform that allows developers to build rich, powerful and comprehensive devices from a compact footprint," said Bob McKenzie, general manager of the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft. "Auto manufacturers and suppliers will also appreciate the enhanced features in the Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 telematics platform that make it cost-effective, easy to develop to, and able to fit every price tag and car model."According to McKenzie, features of Windows CE for Automotive 3.5 include new streamlines graphical user interface, new hands-free communications interface, new platform foundation, power management, customizable developer tools, Microsoft Mobile Explorer™ and improved graphics. "Due to our strong relationship with Microsoft's Automotive Business Unit, we are very pleased with the recent enhancements to Windows CE for Automotive 3.5," said Klaus Dieterich, general manager at Bosch Blaupunkt. "Power management and faster booting times were top features on our wish list, and Microsoft delivered. Microsoft's technological leadership, coupled with its commitment to the automotive industry, drove our decision to use Windows CE for Automotive as the platform of choice for our future devices."