Wi-Fi Industry Backs Microsoft Mobile Software

When a big industry leader like Microsoft makes a big announcement, always
expect several smaller announcements from companies using or supporting whatever
Microsoft announced. The new Windows
Mobile 2003 software for Pocket PC
operating system and the new Windows
Mobile brand is no different. Already today companies like Dell, JVC, Toshiba’s
Computer Systems Group (CSG), Cenuco, and Symbol have announced products that
will run the software.

This announcement, however, is a little different because Windows Mobile includes
built in support for 802.11-based wireless networking. So a number of hotspot
providers and Wi-Fi software vendors are also supporting Microsoft’s new OS
for personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smartphones.

Microsoft is partnering with hotspot companies T-Mobile
Hotspot
, Boingo Wireless, and Wayport to promote use of PocketPC PDAs at
hotspots. Anyone purchasing a Windows Mobile devices gets 30 days free access
with any of the above providers before they have to subscribe. The software
in Windows Mobile automatically seeks out and connects to available Wi-Fi connections.
The promotion
only extends through August 23.

Boingo, which aggregates other people’s Wi-Fi hotspot networks under its umbrella
virtual network of 1,300 locations, has made a beta version of its own Boingo Software client available for Windows
Mobile, called Pocket Boingo. It’s an updated version of the PocketPC for 2002
version that came out last year.

Other Wi-Fi software support comes from PCTEL,
which announced a version of it’s Segue Roaming Client for Wi-Fi that supports
Windows Mobile (it also runs on desktop versions of Windows) and Columbitech,
which is adding Windows Mobile support to its Columbitech Wireless Suite which
provides virtual private network (VPN) services to the PDA OS.

Finally, Socket Communications, which will hopefully
soon be announcing availability of Secure Digital Input/Output (SDIO) form factor
Wi-Fi cards for PDAs, is going to make those cards and its line of Compact Flash
interface Wi-Fi cards ready to work with Windows Mobile. The company is also
offering a $40 rebate on it’s Low Power CF WLAN card for 60 days (again, through
August 23).

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