April 01, 2008, 3:07 PM — Responding to increasing pressure from other mobile phone platforms, Microsoft
on Tuesday planned to introduce updated versions of Windows Mobile and Internet
Explorer Mobile and also make its new enterprise device management software
available to all medium-size and large businesses.
The updated IE Mobile browser will support Adobe Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight
so that Windows Mobile users will be able to view multimedia Internet applications
in their browsers. Microsoft had previously announced that it would support
Flash and Silverlight in Windows Mobile but had declined to say when the capabilities
would become available.
The new IE Mobile will be available to mobile phone makers in the third quarter,
with phones using the browser hitting the market by the end of the year, Microsoft
The browser update could help Microsoft to compete better with Apple's iPhone,
which includes a browser that users have responded to enthusiastically. Owners
of phones that support rich browsing, like the iPhone, view more Web pages on
phones than those with less capable browsers, according to research done by
Julie Ask, an analyst at Jupiter Research.
Microsoft planned to introduce the browser at the CTIA conference in Las Vegas.
It also introduced an updated version of Windows Mobile, version 6.1. The update
includes a new zoom capability that lets users view an entire Web page or picture
and zoom in up on a portion of a page.
It also features a new Getting Started Center aimed at making it easier to
set up e-mail, Bluetooth peripherals and Wi-Fi on the phones. New notifications
on the home page of the phone of missed calls, upcoming appointments and new
messages will allow users to see such updated information at a glance, Microsoft
Phones running Windows Mobile 6.1 could become available to end users as early
as the second quarter, Microsoft said.
Windows Mobile 6.1 will also support System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008,
which is now available for any business. Microsoft introduced Mobile Device
Manager 2008 in October last year but at the time it was available only to a
limited number of testers.
Mobile Device Manager is server software that enterprises can use to remotely
manage and secure Windows Mobile phones much the same way that they may do for
Microsoft also planned to announce the Microsoft Mobile Services Plan, an offering
from mobile operators for enterprises that includes mobile management services.
Microsoft expected to announce operators that will offer the plan on Tuesday.