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5/10/2006
01:18 PM
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Microsoft Powers Gas Pump Of The Future

Drivers will be able to fuel up, download MP3 files, buy a cup of coffee, and get coupons, all from the same place.

A gas pump that can fuel your car while loading up your iPod with MP3 files took top honors at Microsoft's Mobile & Embedded DevCon, now underway in Las Vegas.

The Ovation iX fuel dispenser, designed by Dresser Wayne of Austin, Texas, earned the company kudos as Microsoft's 2006 OEM embedded partner of the year for its use of the software giant's Windows CE operating system in the pump.

Windows CE is used to control what Dresser calls its iX technology platform. The latter controls the key features of the pump, which includes a 10.4-inch color display that can bombard consumers with commercials while they gas up. A built-in printer can dispense promotional coupons.

The software also ties the pump directly into the convenience store area that's part of most modern gas stations. "You'll be able to stop for gas and without ever leaving the pump, buy a cup of coffee and a lottery ticket, download an MP3, and check traffic reports," Dresser Wayne director of marketing Dan Harrell said in a statement earlier this year, when the pump was previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

From the seller side of the equation, the Ovation is billed as an advanced platform that'll enable service stations to increase revenue and lower costs. It's also got a built-in, self-calibrating fuel meter, which Dresser Wayne promotes in its materials as "field-proven to save [station owners] thousands of gallons of lost fuel every year."

Unfortunately, the next-generation pump is unlikely to do anything about the rising prices of gas.

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