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Microsoft Launches Windows Mobile 6

LAS VEGAS – Microsoft said its Windows Mobile 6.1 phones, will be available beginning early in the second quarter

Existing Windows Mobile phones will be updated with the 6.1 operating system of the same name, the company said during CTIA Wireless 2008, here.

In the United States, at least 17 new and existing phone SKUs will offer 6.1, according to separate announcements by Microsoft and handset makers. The top five U.S. carriers will offer phones with 6.1 in 2008, said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division.

Version 6.1 will be available for touchscreen-equipped PDA phones using Windows Mobile Professional and smartphones using Widows Mobile Standard. The upgrade is designed to make the phones simpler to use for voice, data and entertainment applications, Bach said during one of the show’s keynote speeches.

Enhancements include a customizable sliding-panel home screen that lets users “always see their most important information,” Bach said. That information could include emails, missed calls, text messages, next appointment and available music and pictures, he said. The upgrade also allows for easier setup, including setup of email accounts and automatic Bluetooth pairing.

There are also improvements in advanced email, text messaging and other areas.

In the third quarter, Microsoft will also deliver a new Internet Explorer application for Windows Mobile 6.1 devices to enable a desktop-like browsing experience, including full-screen viewing of an HTML Web page. Phones with the new browser will be available by the end of 2008, Bach said.

Existing phones getting 6.1 as an upgrade include AT&T’s BlackJack II by Samsung, the Q9 from Motorola, the Tilt from HTC and the Duo from Pantech. Sprint phones getting a 6.1 upgrade will be the Mogul and Touch by HTC, Q9 from Motorola, and Ace by Samsung.

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