Microsoft ships Windows Mobile 5.0
By CNET senior editor, William O'Neal
May 10, 2005
While many have predicted the demise of the handheld, the release of Windows Mobile 5.0 shows that the mobile scene is not only viable but strong. Building on the success of Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition
, Microsoft aims to provide PDA, cell phone, and media player manufacturers a more solid platform on which to build their devices with version 5.0. Additionally, with support for Microsoft's new Direct Push Technology, on-the-go execs who currently use Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 will enjoy being able to push their Outlook information to certain mobile devices. Three-pronged approach
In developing Windows Mobile 5.0, Microsoft takes a three-pronged approach that focuses on productivity, the multimedia experience, and the ability to allow for differentiation on the hardware manufacturer side. When it comes to productivity, with Windows Mobile 5.0, Microsoft addresses many of the issues that hampered its predecessor. No longer shipping with Pocket versions of popular applications such as Word and Excel, version 5.0 comes with Word Mobile, which now supports tables, lists, and embedded images; Excel Mobile with support for charts; and most notably, PowerPoint. While users can't modify presentations on the version of PowerPoint that ships with Windows Mobile 5.0, they'll be able to view them.
One of Microsoft's theories when it comes to the development of Windows Mobile 5.0 is that people will often use the same device in different settings. For example, the smart phone that you use for productivity purposes is the same device that, after work, becomes an entertainment machine. This is where version 5.0's multimedia capabilities come into play, as the device ships with Windows Media Player 10.0 Mobile and support for hard drives.
Additionally, Microsoft has developed Windows Mobile 5.0 in such a way that individual hardware manufacturers will have the freedom to create devices in myriad form factors. Persistent storage
Another area where Windows Mobile lagged behind the Palm OS was in the realm of persistent storage. Historically, when the battery on a Windows Mobile-based device drained completely, user data was lost. To counter this, Windows Mobile-based devices sometimes allocated up to 30 percent of battery power just to save data. Now that Windows Mobile 5.0 has built-in support for persistent storage--so that when the battery drains completely, your data remains intact--users can expect longer battery life, as the device won't have to allocate any power to maintain the information stored on it.
When it comes to productivity on the go, Windows Mobile 5.0-based devices will also benefit from improved e-mail connectivity. Not only will the devices allow you to access corporate and POP e-mail, version 5.0 now sports the ability to access Hotmail and MSN in-boxes within Microsoft Outlook Mobile. And most importantly, Direct Push Technology allows users to access corporate Outlook data remotely.
With support for ActiveSync 4.0, Windows Mobile 5.0 now allows users the ability to sync wirelessly via Bluetooth. Additionally, devices will also support pictures in contacts, as well as many other user-friendly extras. No devices have yet been announced for the United States, but we expect to see them arriving on our shores within the next few months.