AT&T Promises Free Windows Mobile 6 Upgrades for Treo 750, BlackJack, and 8525

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In the wake of Microsoft’s announcement of Windows Mobile 6, many of those who have a Windows Mobile 5 device are very interested in when, or if, they will get an upgrade to the latest version of this operating system.

Windows Mobile

Those with some of AT&T’s (formerly Cingular Wireless) most recent devices can stop wondering. A spokesperson for this carrier said today that the Samsung BlackJack, Cingular 8525, and Treo 750 will all be receiving upgrades to the latest version of this operating system.

And the owners of these smartphones should be very pleased to learn that their upgrade will come free of charge.

At this point, Cingular isn’t willing to commit to any kind of specific timetable about when the upgrades will be available. The spokesperson would only say, "later this year".

The Other Side of the Coin

While this is good news for many AT&T subscribers, there’s bad news for others.

At this point, Cingular has no plans to release operating system upgrades for some of its other Windows Mobile models, including the Cingular 8125 and 3125, both of which this carrier is currently offering.

What’s Going to Change?

Naturally, because of hardware requirements, the BlackJack will get an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 Standard, while the other two will get the Professional version. This will affect what new features they get.

One of the improvements in all versions of Windows Mobile 6 include the ability to display HTML-formatted email.

It will also sport improved versions of the Mobile Office applications, bringing them closer to their desktop equivalents. These will also offer support for the new file formats in Microsoft Office 2007.

For the first time, the version of this Mobile Office for non-touchscreen devices will allow users to edit, not just view, Office files.

In addition, Microsoft has fine tuned the look of the operating system.

Why Is This So Complicated?

Upgrades on cellular-wireless devices don’t work like they do on PCs and laptops.

Microsoft develops the software, but before it goes to the user the wireless carriers must tweak it for each handheld or smartphone they offer, and field test it to be sure it doesn’t cause any problems with their cellular-wireless networks.

The carrier then distributes the new version to its customers.

That’s the ideal situation. In some cases, carriers decide that its not worth their time and money to do the development work and testing to offer an operating system upgrade, so they don’t offer one.

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