Microsoft is expected to reveal the first beta version of its new Windows Mobile offering at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month after failing to even hint at what was expected at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, where Google Android was flavour of the day.
Also looking to move to a bigger portfolio of Android-based phones is Telstra, which is currently working with vendors like HTC to deliver a Telstra application that interfaces with the Google-developed Android-based phones.
There is also speculation that Microsoft will go head to head with Google with the launch of a direct-sell Windows Mobile phone. Earlier this month, Google launched a new mobile phone called the Nexus One, which is sold online to several countries excluding Australia.
One issue that will decide whether Microsoft goes direct with its own phone is the uptake of the new Microsoft Mobile OS by manufacturers and carriers, said a Microsoft insider at CES.
Insiders at Telstra told ChannelNews at CES that in 2010 the company is looking to develop its Google Android offerings from the likes of HTC, Motorola, Samsung and LG ahead of mobile phones running the Microsoft Mobile operating system.
Some insiders at CES also said that “touch” and “content” were set to be a key part of Microsoft’s new OS offering.
Paul Thurrott, writing on the Supersite for Windows, said, “Since mid-2007, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS has failed to keep up with more innovative devices from Apple, RIM, Palm and Google, and has lost both mindshare and marketshare.”
He said that the Windows Mobile group at Microsoft recently underwent a drastic realignment similar to what happened with the Windows Group, which delivered Windows 7.
The problem with the initial shipping version of the current Windows Mobile 6.5 was that it did not constitute the complete vision that Microsoft had for the operating system. Thurrott said that Microsoft shipped what it could in the limited amount of time it had to meet the peak selling season.
He claims that by the second quarter of 2010, we will see a more complete vision of the 6.5 release. This will be seen on the HTC HD2 smartphone, which he describes as a gorgeous device with an 800 x 480 capacitive touch screen.
Little concrete information is known about Windows Mobile 7, which is expected to ship by the end of 2010. However, Microsoft will formally unveil this system in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Microsoft, executives at CES told ChannelNews.
One thing to expect, said Thurrott, is a move to more of an iPhone-like updating model, where Microsoft is directly involved in delivering OS updates to customers instead of letting wireless carriers make that decision. The reason is simple: via a Windows Update mechanism, Microsoft can easily deliver innovations as well as security updates to its customers.
Wireless carriers would rather sell users a new phone than given them a free or inexpensive software update.