Windows Home Server Debuts

Microsoft said Monday that the first product under the Windows Home Server line, HP's MediaSmart Server, is now available for pre-order and will be released later this month.

Pre-orders will be taken on the Web sites: Amazon, Best Buy, Buy.com. Circuit City and CompUSA. Shipping and availability through other retailers occurs later this month.

Two versions of the product are available, one with 500GB of storage space for $599 USD, and the other with 1TB for $749. The AMD-powered unit allows families to share files and multimedia between computers and view them through their televisions.

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Additionally, the device will backup all networked XP and Vista computers, and act as a home Web server allowing friends and families to access content from anywhere with a net connection.

Some 35 plus third-party applications are already available for the platform, and cover a wide variety of applications from media sharing to security, home automation, and virus protection.

Other companies are set to launch devices based on the Windows Home Server platform later this year and into 2008. These companies include Fujitsu Siemes, Iomega, Life|ware, Maxdata, Medion, Tranquil, and Velocity Micro. Other companies have announced plans to develop products, including Gateway.

"With the launch of Windows Home Server, Microsoft and its partners are creating a new consumer product category that will help people keep their digital media safe and make it easier for them to enjoy it with friends and family," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said in a statement.

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