Microsoft unleashes Windows Mobile 6.5 worldwide

Microsoft formally announced the coordinated, worldwide release of smartphones running on its new Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. The company said that it expected its partners to deliver more than 30 new phones in more than 20 countries by the end of 2009.

The platform has come under increasing pressure from other players in the smartphone space, notably Google's Android operating system, Apple's iPhone OS and Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform. By announcing phones across multiple continents and with multiple carriers, Microsoft appears to be trumpeting the global reach of the platform as much as the new features. Today also marks the formal launch of of its Windows Marketplace for Mobile application storefront, which currently has 246 applications in its catalog.

Microsoft said that Windows Mobile 6.5 includes a redesigned Internet Explorer Mobile browser boasting a new engine, and built-in Adobe Flash Lite support for better rendering and completion of tasks. Handsets also will arrive with Windows Live, enabling users to more effectively manage their social media behaviors across services including Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, according to Microsoft.

In North America, Microsoft is partnering with three of the four Tier 1 carriers for Windows Mobile 6.5. AT&T Mobility has already announced it will launch the HTC Pure and HTC Tilt 2, and Verizon Wireless has said it will launch the HTC Imagio. Today, Sprint Nextel said it will launch the Samsung Intrepid.

The Intrepid phone will have a 2.5-inch touchscreen, 3.2-megapixel camera, WiFi, a full Qwerty keyboard and a microSD slot capable of holding up to 32 GB of storage. Sprint will launch the Intrepid Oct. 11 for $149.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. 

For more:
- see this Microsoft release
- see this Sprint release

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