Microsoft Embraces CDMA for PPC Phones and Smartphones

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Microsoft today announced that it is developing versions of its Pocket PC Phone Edition and Smartphone operating systems that are compatable with CDMA wireless networks. Previous versions of these operating systems had been only for GSM/GPRS networks.

The software giant didn’t give a release date for these, saying only that they would be available “later this year”.

CDMA is the most wirely used wireless networking technology in the United States, though GSM/GPRS is the prevailing standfard in the rest of the world. There are currently about 100 million CDMA subscribers world-wide.

Hitachi Multimedia Communicator

Hitachi Multimedia Communicator Even before the new Pocket PC Phone Edition is finished, companies are ready to announce devices using it. Today, Hitachi will announce a wireless Pocket PC that will use CDMA networks called the Multimedia Communicator. It will be the first-ever Pocket PC with and integrated keyboard as well as one of the first Pocket PCs with integrated digital camera.

“Microsoft’s Windows Powered software for CDMA networks brings Hitachi’s excellence in hardware to the next level, allowing its Multimedia Communicator based on Pocket PC Phone Edition to bring feature-rich multimedia applications such as e-mail, photos and rich data to CDMA network subscribers,” said Shigeru Matsuoka, general manager of the Mobile Information & Communication Appliance Division of the Ubiquitous Platforms Systems Group at Hitachi Ltd.

Sprint has committed to bringing the Multimedia Communicator to market in the U.S. by June 30. It will run on Sprint’s new high-speed CDMA wireless network. Pricing is not yet available.

Samsung i700

Samsung i700 Hitachi isn’t alone in this. Samsung will also unveil the i700, a wireless Pocket PC for CDMA networks with an integrated camera.

Peter Skarzynski, senior vice president of the wireless terminals division at Samsung, said “Samsung is pleased to be working with Microsoft to bring new CDMA devices, such as our i700, to market in the first half of 2003. Consumers and business professionals will be able to enjoy the familiar Microsoft interface on a sleek Samsung CDMA wireless device with the benefit of a brilliant color screen and an integrated camera.”

It is not yet known when the i700 will be released or what it will cost.

HTC Falcon

Though not one of the devices announced today, late last month the FCC posted information on its website about the HTC Falcon, a Pocket PC Phone Edition device that uses CDMA wireless networks. It appears to be quite similar to the Pocket PC Phone Edition handheld HTC already makes. Unlike the previous device, though, this one includes a built-in GPS receiver.

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