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Mobile just one leg of Microsoft's three-screen strategy

Most of what Microsoft discusses at CTIA 2009 is old news, but the company reiterates its plans to stay relevant in mobile computing.

Microsoft's Robbie Bach (left) and Gian Wilson demonstrate how Windows 7 offers built-in software for connecting to 3G wireless networks. Maggie Reardon/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Microsoft had little new to say about its Windows Mobile phones at CTIA 2009, but reinforced its intention to play in all the future arenas of personal computing.

Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, ran through essentially the same news that his boss, CEO Steve Ballmer, presented about six weeks ago during the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. The company demonstrated how Windows 7 has built-in software for connecting to 3G wireless networks, showed off some of the features of Windows Mobile 6.5, and played a quick video highlighting its mobile application store, Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

The demonstrations were all geared around Bach's central theme of the "three screens": the PC, the television, and the mobile phone. Microsoft intends to make sure Windows is able to give people access to their personal data, information, and services on all three of those screens.

Microsoft spent as much time showing off how HP's Mini 1000 Netbook is capable of connecting to 3G wireless networks with software built into Windows 7 as it did demonstrating Windows Mobile 6.5, and barely mentioned Windows Marketplace for Mobile during a week when mobile application stores are a big topic.

But Bach promised that Windows Mobile phones will be the subject of Microsoft's next big advertising push, and said the company's partners will have 10 phones running Windows Mobile 6.5 ready when that operating system arrives in the second half of this year.