Microsoft Hopes To Beef Up Smartphones With New Windows Mobile 6


The enhanced mobile platform was formally introduced at the 3GSM show in Barcelona and offers synchronization with Windows Vista, new Windows Live for Windows Mobile Services and enhanced Office applications. The platform includes built-in Direct Push Technology with support for up-to-date e-mail delivery and synchronization with Outlook.

It also offers improved security and management features for businesses, along with new Internet sharing and VoIP support for device manufacturers.

Manufacturers are expected to make Windows Mobile 6 devices available beginning in the second quarter of 2007.

The Redmond, Wash. software giant said it has made strides toward delivering a more PC-like experience on mobile devices. For instance, the enhanced platform offers better looking e-mail, enabling users to view e-mails in rich HTML format stored on their corporate Exchange server from their Live Hotmail and other service provider accounts. Those emails can incorporate live Web and SharePoint links, Microsoft said.

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The platform also offers new Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Search and Windows Live Spaces for Mobile 6.

The Windows Live Messenger service designed for Mobile 6 will allow users to chat with more than one person at a time, use animated figures, quickly send a file or image, or record and send voice notes, the company said.

Additionally, Mobile's Office applications have been updated and enhanced to ease viewing and editing of Office documents on a smartphone. For example, version 6 will allow users to view, navigate and edit Word documents and Excel spreadsheets in their original formatting without degradation of tables, images or text, Microsoft said.

Mobile 6 will also allow users to view PowerPoint presentations and access a smart calendar bar for viewing schedules. Microsoft has integrated new features as well that ease the exchange of music, pictures and Outlook information between a PC and mobile device.

For businesses, Windows Mobile 6 offers new security features including the ability to remotely wipe data from a device if it is lost or stolen, and the ability to use Exchange Server policies and rights management technology to secure data on mobile devices.

Moreover, the integration of new versions of the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework and Microsoft SQL Server will simplify the integration of line of business application data with the mobile OS, and easier to develop innovative mobile applications, Microsoft pledged.

Microsoft also added support for Internet sharing and VoIP features for device manufacturers. With these capabilities, mobile devices can serve as high speed modems for laptops and support VoIP connections. British Telecom and HP, for example, plan to offer smartphones with VoIP offerings.

Partners are ramping up for the availability of mobile devices powered by Windows Mobile 6. "WM6 has some good new features, mostly under the hood stuff," said Ken Winell, CEO of Expert Collab, a new Microsoft solution provider in Florham Park, N.J.