Thursday, September 10, 2009

Windows Mobile Gets Fall Fashion Update

Microsoft is edging closer to the consumer-friendly look RIM and Apple are known for with the latest updates to its mobile operating system for smartphones. Redmond still has some distance to close before it can match the popular appeal of those brands, however, suggested Jeff Bradley, AT&T's senior vice president for devices.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is giving its operating system for smartphones a new look in time for the holiday shopping season.
The world's largest software maker said Tuesday that phones running the next version of Windows Mobile will hit store shelves worldwide on Oct. 6.
"Windows Mobile 6.5," as the new system is called, has an updated look that brings Microsoft's offering more in line with competitors such as Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM) BlackBerry and Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone.
Windows Marketplace
Windows Mobile 6.5 includes a new version of its Internet Explorer browser for phones, along with changes that make it easier to use on touchscreen devices.
Microsoft also has developed a free service called "My Phone" that lets people synchronize text messages, contacts, photos and other phone data on the Internet, where it can be edited or transferred to a new phone.
Microsoft is also launching a mobile application store akin to Apple's store for iPhone apps on iTunes.
The company would not say how many developers have submitted applications for the Windows Marketplace for Mobile so far.
Roping In Consumers
AT&T (NYSE: T) , Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) and Verizon Wireless will all market new Windows Mobile phones, Microsoft said.
AT&T will give people who use Windows Mobile 6.5 phones with certain data plans access to its network of WiFi hot spots without additional charge, a perk already enjoyed by iPhone and BlackBerry owners.
Microsoft is betting the updated smartphone system will lure more consumers while still appealing to the corporate technology gurus who like the way it works with company email servers.
Still Lagging
AT&T's senior vice president for devices, Jeff Bradley, said in an interview that the new system is a good step for Microsoft but certainly not its last.
"I don't think it catches them up to what is setting the bar today," Bradley said. "I think they've got a definite plan to introduce an even more consumer-friendly and competitive interface and set of services."
Microsoft would not comment on plans for the next version of the mobile operating system.

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