Motorola's 'leak' -- Windows Mobile 7 due in 2010

Motorola Co-CEO Sanjay Jha, during the the company's dismal earnings phone conference on Tuesday, let slip that Windows Mobile 7, a major upgrade to Microsoft's mobile operating system, will appear in phones starting in 2010. Jha was responding to an analysts question during the traditional question-answer session with financial analysts. Jha was elaborating on the time frame for Motorola handsets that would run either Windows Mobile or the open source Android OS from the Open Handset Alliance. "...More of our effort and focus in 2009 is going to Android, but in 2010 when Windows 7 will become available, we will then participate in a more focused way in Windows Mobile 7 in 2010," Jha said, according to a CNET story by Eric Ogg. Microsoft appears to be marshaling its formidable resources to launch Windows Mobile to the forefront of its rivals, including the Mac OS X iPhone and the new crop of Android smartphones, among others. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is a keynoter at the Mobile World Congress later this month in Barcelona, Spain, where he's expected to unveil news about Windows Mobile. There's been no formal public detailing of Windows Mobile 7. But reports surfaced in late 2008 and early January 2009, based on at least one purported internal Microsoft document, that say version 7 will support gestures, and also be controllable by shaking and turning the handset, and even by gesture recognition through the handset's camera. In the meantime, Microsoft has made several interesting moves around its mobile OS. In April 2008, it announced Windows Mobile 6.1, a relatively minor release that had one interesting but little-noted change: hooks into the just-released Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 (MDM), a new server application that is the first major effort by the company to make handhelds as manageable and secure as PCs. That could be the basis for a range of new carrier management and security services for mobile subscribers, both consumers and enterprises. One resulting feature in 6.1 is automatic device enrollment: a 6.1 handset can register automatically with an MDM server, with no additional client code to download or administer. Once registered it can download a growling list of management and security policies, transparently to the enduser. Microsoft also has begun talking more openly about its first full Web browser for the Windows Mobile platform, dubbed Internet Explorer Mobile 6, because it's based on the HTML rendering engine of desktop Internet Explorer 6. The new mobile browser also incorporates some parts of IE 7 and of the beta release of IE 8. (You can get a sense of what it currently looks like, based on emulator images from Microsoft released last November for developers.) In a guest blogpost at CNET in Fall 2008, former Apple exec Jean-Louis Gassee, now a partner with Allegis Capital, speculated that Microsoft could marry its emerging "cloud OS", called Azure, with a proprietary smartphone based on its 2008 acquisition of Danger, creator of the Sidekick, in effect borrowing the best from the approaches taken by Google, with its Web-based applications and services now linked with Android-based phones, and Apple, with it's proprietary iPhone, linked with Web-based services such as iTunes and App Store. "Put another way, Microsoft's future business model will borrow from Apple and Google, it will have two components: proprietary devices and "universal" Cloud services," Gassee wrote. "And like its models, it will attempt to extract extra profits by nicely tying both components together."


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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