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Microsoft to release mobile database for handhelds

The company says it will ship a test version of its long-promised mobile database software for Windows CE devices at the end of June.

Microsoft's long-promised mobile database software for Windows CE devices is a step closer to becoming reality.

Microsoft today said it will ship a test version of its mobile database--called the SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition--for the Windows CE operating system on June 30. The final version of the software is expected to ship in the third quarter, the company said.

The mobile database announcement is part of the company's launch today of its Pocket PC operating system, the third update to the company's CE operating system for palm-sized devices.

Microsoft joins database rivals IBM, Oracle, Sybase and Informix in the growing market for mobile databases, as demand surges for handheld electronic devices.

The database technology allows employees using handhelds to link to their corporate networks, download data, work offline, and then connect to the network again to sync up with the corporate database.

The database for handhelds, first announced last summer, joins a previously released pint-sized database for laptops, company executives said.

Barry Goffe, a Microsoft product manager, said the mobile database also works on set-top boxes and factory floor computers that collect data on operations and then send the information back to corporate headquarters for analysis.

With a mobile database embedded in a handheld device, a package delivery worker can collect signatures after each delivery and send the information to a corporate database at day's end, for example.

The mobile database runs on the Pocket PC operating system and previous versions of the Windows CE operating system. It also works with all versions of Microsoft's SQL Server database, company executives said.