dcsimg
RealTime IT News

Microsoft Refreshes its Smartphone Software

Microsoft Monday introduced revised versions of its smart phone software to be compatible with CDMA wireless networks. The move is part of Microsoft's strategy to hook up with a variety of intelligent mobile device manufacturers and wireless carriers expected to rollout new services in the U.S later this year.

Microsoft has inked a deal to license its revised software for handheld devices to Japan's Hitachi Ltd. Hitachi will make a new combined handheld computer and mobile phone to be unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The product, known as the Hitachi Multimedia Communicator NC1 Pocket PC, has a digital camera and keyboard built into the device.

Samsung is also developing a combined handheld phone-computer device that will be based on Microsoft's new version of its Pocket PC software. The Samsung product, dubbed the i700, also features an integrated digital camera.

CDMA, short for Code Division Multiple Access technology, is currently being used by close to 100 million wireless phone users in the United States. Microsoft's backing of CDMA for combined mobile phone and computer devices marks a direct challenge to Nokia , backer of Symbian, a wireless operating system capable of handling both CDMA and GSM, Global System for Mobile Communications. Palm is also a competitor in the wireless operating system market.

Microsoft is making a major push into the market for mobile devices that combine a fully-featured wireless phone with a variety of computer applications available on PDA, or personal digital assistant products.

There is speculation that Verizon Wireless and Sprint PCS are mobile vendors that may market the Hitachi and Samsung products based on the Microsoft standard, but the companies have yet to comment on their plans.

Hitachi and Samsung are the latest manufacturers to back the Microsoft standard for advanced mobile devices. High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) is already out with one handset based on the Windows Smartphone 2002. HTC is working with Orange SA, which in November of 2002 rolled out its SPV (sound, pictures, video) device that is currently available in Europe. HTC is expected to come out with a second handset during the first quarter of 2002 that will be launched on Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile International network. The new HTC smart phones will be based on the GSM/GPRS standards.

Microsoft will be looking to sign deals with other wireless handset manufacturers. Currently, Microsoft partners for its smartphone operating system include HTC, Compal Communications, Samsung Electronics, Asustek Computer and MiTac Group.

While Microsoft continues to ink deals with handset manufacturers, its smart phone strategy was dealt a blow recently when Sendo, in a 27-page filing in a Texas court, sued Microsoft for leaking details about its strategy to its competitors. Sendo dropped plans to roll out its Z100 Stinger phone, and instead of working with Microsoft has decided to work with Nokia in the future.