Microsoft has been forced by circumstances to pre-announce Windows Mobile 6 several days before it had intended to.
The company gave a briefing on the upcoming version of this operating system to a French newspaper, but only under the condition that the information be kept under wraps until next week, when the official announcement was scheduled. However, the newspaper published an article yesterday giving all the details it had learned on Windows Mobile 6.
Rather than give this paper an exclusive story, Microsoft has decided to pre-announce to the world the latest version of its operating system for smartphones and handhelds. The full announcement is scheduled for February 12.
Update: Microsoft has formally announced Windows Mobile 6 as scheduled.
Essentially, Microsoft has confirmed most of the earlier rumors about Windows Mobile 6, formerly known as Crossbow.
The changes in the Pocket PC version won’t be radical, but will certainly be welcomed by many users. The new version will be able to display HTML-formatted email, for example. It will also include improved versions of the Mobile Office applications. In addition, Microsoft has fine tuned the look of the operating system.
There will be more significant changes made to the version of Windows Mobile 6 for smartphones. It will include Mobile Office applications for the first time, allowing users to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.
Although no specifics are available at this time, Microsoft’s pre-announcement promises that the new version of Office Mobile for all versions of this operating system will let users make changes to documents in their original formatting, without affecting tables, images, or text.
In addition, Windows Mobile 6 will include a version of Windows Live that will let users chat with more than one person at one time, send a file or image, or record and send voice notes.
With the introduction of Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft will change the names of the various sub-versions.
The original and new names are:
- Windows Mobile for Smartphone will become Windows Mobile Standard
- Windows Mobile for Pocket PC Phone Edition will become Windows Mobile Professional
- Windows Mobile for Pocket PC will become Windows Mobile Classic
Even though Microsoft is planning to announce Windows Mobile 6 next week, smartphones and handhelds with it won’t be released on that day.
Without giving any specifics, the company said that devices running this operating system will begin shipping worldwide by the second quarter of 2007.
Still, it’s quite likely that official announcements of upcoming Windows Mobile 6-based devices will be made next week.