Microsoft demos Windows Mobile 6.1 at CTIA

New Windows Mobile features include new Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash

Microsoft demonstrated new features for its Windows Mobile 6.1 platform this week, including Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash capabilities.

During a presentation at CTIA Wireless Tuesday morning, Microsoft Windows Mobile product manager Derek Snyder unveiled several applications and programs that are part of the Windows Mobile 6.1 package. Snyder said the new Windows Mobile platform, which is expected to hit the market "within the next couple of months," is designed to meld the needs of both work and leisure on wireless devices and to help create a device that can be used for both professional and personal purposes. (Read our analysis of how the upgrade will boost handheld management.)

One of the big new features for the platform will be the addition of a new mobile Internet Explorer browser that will let users view full Web pages rather than mobile-optimized pages, and to also give them the ability to pan and zoom around pages. Snyder also said Windows Mobile is incorporating Adobe Flash technology onto the new Internet Explorer mobile that will let users watch YouTube videos on Windows Mobile devices just as they would on desktop computers. The Flash capabilities will be installed onto Windows Mobile devices "by the end of 2008," according to Snyder.

Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, said Windows Mobile 6.1 was a good fit for customers who "want to be able to have all of their experiences wherever and whenever they want" and also suggested Windows Mobile was aiming to move more into the consumer market.

"Historically people have thought of [Windows Mobile] as being the mobile solution for people at work," he said. "That is changing, because we know that as we go forward, people are going to want to have a handset that works for them whether they're at their office or whether they're at home."

In addition to the new Web-browsing features for the platform, other Windows Mobile 6.1 features demonstrated at CTIA Wireless include:

•  A "Getting Started" feature that allows users to fix their e-mail accounts, passwords, Bluetooth headsets, and any other features they want on their phones.

•  A threaded text-messaging feature that allows users to view all conversations within a particular text-messaging thread.

•  "Live Search for Mobile," a continuously upgraded application that helps users find businesses, get directions, view traffic reports, compare gas prices at local stations, and view movie show times and other local information.

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