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Gas Pumps To Sport Windows

Remember that old gasoline ad about putting a “tiger in your tank?” How about Windows in your gas pump?

Attendees at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week got a preview of a gas pump sporting a Windows CE logo. And it’s not just for show.

Austin, Texas-based Dresser Wayne showed off a pump it plans to ship soon that will feature a version of Windows CE embedded as part of what it calls its iX Technology Platform. Besides dispensing gas, the pump -- dubbed the Ovation iX fuel dispenser -- aims to simplify drivers’ lives, according to the company.

"You'll be able to stop for gas on your way to work and -- without ever leaving the pump -- buy a cup of coffee and a lottery ticket, download an MP3, and check up-to-the-minute traffic reports,” said Dan Harrell, Dresser Wayne's senior director of marketing and product management in a statement. Among other things, the dispenser will also be able to run “a quick diagnostics report on your car, alert you when it's time for an oil change, and even print out coupons for the lube shop down the street."

Besides pump functions, the Ovation iX’s central design is driven by expanding retail sales opportunities. A standard part of the “dispenser,” as the company calls it, allows consumers to watch “full-motion, site-specific video commercials right on a dispenser-integrated 10.4-inch color display, with built-in speaker.” That’s while they’re pumping gas, obviously.

"The iX Technology Platform was designed to provide retailers with a wide range of modular, industry-specific applications that won't require them to change their existing in-store POS system or asset management software," said Harrell. No word yet on when to expect them at your local station.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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