Most people should be aware that there are two versions of Windows Mobile, one for Pocket PCs and one for Smartphones. One of the more significant differences between these is that Pocket PCs come with a suite of applications that allow them to work with Microsoft Office files, while WM Smartphones don’t.
Some evidence has emerged that indicates this will change before too much longer.
GpsPasSion has obtained what are supposedly some screen shots from the Smartphone version of Crossbow, the code-name for the next version of Windows Mobile. Some of these show that this will include Office Mobile, as the Pocket PC version does now.
If these images are real, then in the future, users will be able to access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on their WM Smartphones.
How Far Does It Go?
Even if this isn’t a hoax, these images don’t answer an important question, will users be able to edit Office files, or just view them?
In the past, Microsoft has brought up the idea that, because WM Smartphones generally have numberpads rather than keyboards, then all users of these devices might need is a way to view Office documents but not edit them.
On the other hand, an increasing number of WM Smartphones with built-in keyboards — such as the Motorola Q and T-Mobile Dash — have come on the market. Users of devices like these would quite likely want to have a full version of Office Mobile.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
Although many will consider this good news, these people should keep in mind that Crossbow isn’t expected to be available in the near future.
According to Microsoft, the first devices running Crossbow won’t be available until the second half of 2007.