It may not have arrived with the fanfare Longhorn will, but Windows Mobile 2005 deserves a decent round of applause based on the features it will bring to the table and it sports a name change to boot.
Windows Mobile 5.0 is the new moniker as Microsoft continues to adopt dateless titles (probably wise considering we’d be a lot more freaked out if more of us realised Windows XP is really Windows 2001!). Here’s the run down of what’s new.
The big development is the integration of Windows Media Player 10 which will offer wider support for protected digital music, video and television files which can synchronised from a PC, downloaded directly from the Internet or via a mobile operator.
Office based programmes get a revamp with the inclusion of Excel Mobile, improvements to Word Mobile (it will now support tables and embedded images), Powerpoint Mobile (new presentation review mode) and deeper integration between desktop and mobile versions of Outlook (including push email support: a mail version of push-to-talk).
In addition, there will be the expected support for 3G and VoIP, improved WiFi and Bluetooth security, integrated voice recognition and video conferencing. Also of interest is the new driver-centric style of device support which means new technologies can be added without major OS upgrades every time (praise be). USB2.0 support should allow some speedy backups as well.
The Redmond beast reports that 40 manufacturers have so far pledged to develop smartphones and Pocket PCs for 5.0 and 68 mobile operators in 48 countries will play ball too. Among the names it dropped (in no particular order) were Dell with its Axim X50, HTC with the Universal and Samsung’s i300.
Windows Mobile 5.0 based devices should start appearing from the second half of this year and - of the first models announced - HTC’s Universal (above) strikes us as looking particularly swish.