Microsoft releases Live Search for mobile phones

Microsoft Corp. announced some new Windows Live applications for mobile phones on Monday, including programs that offer search and mapping capabilities.

Live Search for Windows Mobile 6 and Live Search for Java will both be available shortly through operators in the U.S. and the U.K., Microsoft announced at the 3GSM World Congress show in Barcelona.

The search software includes category-based searching, which lets people find things without having to type search terms into their phone. They could search for a list of restaurants or hotels in their local area, for example. It can also map local information using Microsoft's Virtual Earth, and provide real-time traffic reports for 25 U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The Live Search software is available for Windows Mobile devices, Nokia Series 40 and Series 60 devices, Motorola's Razr and SLVR devices, and some phones from LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. People interested in the software can find a list of supported devices here or download the software for free from their mobile phone here.

Microsoft also announced the availability of Windows Live for Windows Mobile, which includes productivity tools such as messaging and e-mail software, as well as Live Spaces, Microsoft's blogging and photo service.

The applications are debuting ahead of the expected mid-year release of Windows Mobile 6, which Microsoft will demonstrate at 3GSM.

3GSM World Congress runs through Thursday.

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