Roughly six months after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer keynoted CTIA I.T. Wireless and Entertainment, the software giant's entertainment and devices division head Robbie Bach took the stage at CTIA Wireless 2008 to introduce Windows Mobile 6.1, the latest version of its mobile OS. While not the bold mobile platform statement some may have expected from a company facing growing competition from rivals like Apple, the new OS looks simple and intuitive.
New features include a sliding panel homescreen plug-in promising at-a-glance access to data notifications, email, appointments, music and Windows Live, threaded SMS (which allows users to view a series of text message threads in one view, complete with hyperlinks contact names and details), multiselect messaging functionality and text cut, copy and paste, a feature which earned murmurs of approval from the CTIA audience. Windows Mobile 6.1 also features improvements to Internet Explorer Mobile, promising enhanced mobile web navigation and support for both Adobe Flash and Microsoft's in-house Flash competitor Silverlight. According to Bach, new phones should start shipping with the new mobile IE by the end of the year, with devices available from all five of the major U.S. operators.
"We think the mobile marketplace is at an inflection point," Bach said. "This is just the beginning." -Jason