In a packed hall of developers and industry partners at Microsoft® Mobile & Embedded DevCon 2005, Microsoft Corp.’s annual mobile and embedded developers conference, Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft, announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Mobile™ 5.0. This new version of the Windows Mobile software platform delivers on partner requests, including more platform flexibility to customize devices and solutions; productivity enhancements that include updated Microsoft Office software and persistent memory storage for more efficient data management; and a powerful multimedia experience with Windows Media® Player 10 Mobile and support for hard drives.
Just five years ago, the first Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs shipped from three hardware partners. Today 40 device-makers are shipping innovative Windows Mobile-based products with 68 mobile operators in 48 countries. These hardware and mobile operator partners have contributed to Windows Mobile revenue growth of 31 percent from 2003 to 2004 and phone license sales more than double those of the previous year.
“In the past five years, there’s been a profound shift in the kind of data and services people access on their mobile devices—from multimedia to business applications,” Gates said. “Windows Mobile 5.0 enables our industry partners to develop exciting new hardware designs and solutions that will revolutionize how customers use mobile devices.”
“Windows Mobile 5.0 is an important evolutionary step for the Windows Mobile platform, which continues to gain traction worldwide,” said John Jackson, Yankee Group senior analyst. “Enhancements in the platform give wireless network operators and mobile device vendors the ability to deliver customized, differentiated services and devices, while meeting the market’s demand for robust, scalable, segmented offerings.”
Enhancements in Windows Mobile 5.0 will provide device-makers and mobile operators with more options to differentiate themselves from competitors and ultimately provide end users with a wider range of converged devices. Partners can take advantage of the following features:
*New technologies. Increased platform flexibility, the top customization request, enables partners to plug in differentiated technologies such as “push-to-talk” or video calling and conferencing.
*Network support. Support for higher-bandwidth 3G networks, Wi-Fi for the Smartphone platform and improvements to existing Bluetooth® support enable more flexibility to integrate mobile phone services across a variety of networks.
*One-handed operation. Across the Windows Mobile platform, soft-key integration, landscape display orientation and QWERTY keyboard support will enable hardware partners to develop compelling devices with improved one-handed keyboard navigation that empowers customers to access their information without a stylus.
Building on the more than 18,000 commercial Windows Mobile-based applications available today, developers can utilize tools available in the Beta 2 of Visual Studio® 2005 and new application programming interfaces (APIs) to quickly and easily develop a variety of rich mobile applications such as location-based services, 3-D gaming and video that bring to life compelling entertainment and productivity scenarios. Further, integration with Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 Community Technology Preview in Windows Mobile 5.0, along with integration with the Beta 2 of Visual Studio 2005, allows businesses to extend critical business information and applications to mobile devices in the field.
With its updated and enhanced look, Windows Mobile 5.0 enables industry partners to create devices and solutions that provide mobile information workers with more efficient and secure access to information. These refinements include the following:
*Persistent memory storage. The most requested productivity feature from partners and customers alike, persistent memory storage retains information even when the device’s battery is depleted.
*Microsoft Office software for Windows Mobile. Users will be able to view and create charts in Excel Mobile, and edit documents with graphics using Word Mobile while maintaining document formatting with files created on a PC. A new PowerPoint® Mobile application has been included for Pocket PC, giving road warriors the ability to view and rehearse presentations.
*Security. Complementing a number of security features already included in the Windows Mobile platform, such as Bluetooth authorization and end-to-end encryption over a virtual private network, Windows Mobile 5.0 has gone through extensive threat-modeling testing and completed the rigorous Microsoft Trustworthy Computing full security review. The platform is also FIPS-140-2-certified, meaning it meets the stringent U.S. government security requirements for IT products.
With the more than 25 Windows Mobile content partners, the ability to play multimedia files has long been a hallmark of the platform. Windows Mobile 5.0 offers enhancements that enable industry partners to provide a more powerful and personalized multimedia experience through the following features:
*Windows Media Player 10 Mobile. Customers can enjoy a larger number of protected digital music, video and recorded television files that can be synchronized easily from a PC or downloaded from many Internet-based services and mobile operators’ music stores with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile. The updated player also enables synchronization of users’ playlists, album art and song ratings. Partners can plug in additional digital rights management (DRM) technologies to help advance their specific media business models.Pictures and video. A new pictures and video application will add advanced features such as burst mode and timer function previously found only on high-end digital cameras.
*Extended storage. Additional support for hard drives and Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 will enable people to easily and quickly store large amounts of information—such as entire digital picture and music libraries—on a mobile device and synchronize this content with a PC.