Windows Mobile 5.0 Officially Unveiled

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Speaking at the the Microsoft Mobile & Embedded DevCon 2005 (MEDC), Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect, has made the formal announcement of Windows Mobile 5.0.

This is the company’s operating system for mobile devices. There are two versions: one for Pocket PC handhelds and another for smartphones.

In his speech, Gates talked about some of the new features in this operating system, like enhanced support for built-in hard drives and USB 2.0.

A lot of features that were previously available only in the Pocket PC version are now integrated into the smartphone version. This includes support for Wi-Fi, landscape mode, and QWERTY keyboards.

One of the most significant changes is the inclusion of persistent memory storage. The most requested feature from device makers and customers alike, persistent memory Storage retains information even when the device’s battery is depleted.

In addition, Windows Mobile 5.0 add two buttons to the bottom of almost every screen in the Pocket PC version. Exactly what these do depends on the application currently running.

Microsoft added these to make one-handed use of these devices easier. They were already included in the smartphone version.

Productivity Enhancements

Word Mobile In addition to having their names changed, the Microsoft Office applications are getting an overhaul.

New formating capabilities have been added to Word Mobile, Excel Mobile has acquired the ability to create and display many different types of charts and graphs, and PowerPoint Mobile has been added to the suite.

Many companies worry that handhelds and smartphones are a security risk. Therefore Windows Mobile 5.0 has gone through extensive threat-modeling testing and completed the rigorous Microsoft Trustworthy Computing full security review.

The platform is also FIPS-140-2-certified, meaning it meets the stringent U.S. government security requirements for IT products.

Multimedia Improvements

Windows Media Player 10 Mobile is integrated into Windows Mobile 5.0. This lets users play a larger number of protected digital music, video, and recorded television files. These can be synchronized from a PC or downloaded from many Internet-based services and mobile operators’ music stores.

The updated player also enables synchronization of users’ playlists, album art, and song ratings.

This isn’t the debut of Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, as it was announced last year. Still, up until now it has only been available on a few models.

Many handhelds and smartphones have a built-in digital camera. A new pictures and video application adds advanced features such as burst mode and a timer function.

Changes have also been made to Internet Explorer, like a full screen mode.

Availability

Although no New Handhelds or smartphones running it were announced today, it was learned today that two previously unveiled models — the HTC Universal and the Samsung SGH-i300 — will run Windows Mobile 5.0.

In addition, both HP and Dell have announced plans to release operating system upgrades for some of their handhelds. These will be available this summer.

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