Thu, May 08, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Microsoft unveils its latest project: the wired bathroom

AFP , SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

US software titan, Microsoft, announced Tuesday that its renowned technology had finally gone into the toilet.

"This is not a joke," Microsoft spokesman, Brian Peterson assured reporters of the high-tech firm's plans to replace the traditional newspaper as reading material in the "small room" with state-of-the-art Internet access.

The new innovation developed by Microsoft's MSN division and dubbed the iLoo, is a portable toilet with an extensible, height-adjustable plasma screen, wireless keyboard and six channel surround sound speaker system.

The seated user can send and receive e-mails, shop on the Internet or even download music in his or her down time.

Those standing in line for the facility will be able to make use of an external "Hotmail station with a waterproof keyboard and plasma screen that will let them surf the Internet while waiting."

"It'll give them a chance to do something useful while they queue up," Peterson said.

Tracy Blacher, Marketing Manager at MSN said the firm was still exploring other means of bringing flashy technology into the bathroom.

"We are looking at vacuum powered options and the very latest broadband enabled technology to ensure the best loo-surfing experience," she said in a statement.

To complement its latest gambit, MSN is also in talks with toilet paper manufacturers to produce special paper with Web addresses that will be inspirational for surfers, according to British-based Blacher.

The toilet reading of newspapers and magazines could become obsolete if the digital minded public buys this concept, she said.

"The internets so much a part of everyday life now that surfing on the loo was the next natural step ... It's exciting to think that the smallest room can now be the gateway to the massive virtual world," she said.

The iLoo will be mobile and is part of MSNs mission to allow instant logging on "anytime and any place." It will first become available in Britain for the summer festival season later this year.

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