Microsoft Launches Windows Mobile 5.0

At Mobile & Embedded DevCon 2005 in Las Vegas, Microsoft formally introduced Windows Mobile 5.0. The latest release of Microsoft's OS for smartphones and mobile devices offers updated versions of Mobile Office software, as well as Windows Media Player 10 and built-in hard drive support.

Windows Mobile 5.0 also gives manufacturers and wireless companies more control over the look and feel of devices built on the platform. While much of the mobile operating system is targeted at the smartphone market, several enhancements to the software also benefit Pocket PC users.

"In the past five years, there's been a profound shift in the kind of data and services people access on their mobile devices - from multimedia to business applications," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said announcing the release.

"Windows Mobile 5.0 enables our industry partners to develop exciting new hardware designs and solutions that will revolutionize how customers use mobile devices."

The new customization features within the software allows Microsoft's partners to "plug-in" technologies, such as push-to-talk or videoconferencing. In past versions, manufacturers were limited to only the set of features included in the operating system, as there wasn't a readily available plug-in architecture.

Other features introduced with Windows Mobile 5.0 are the introduction of persistent memory, which will retain data even in the event of battery depletion, as well as better security features to ensure that the recent spread of smartphone viruses do not make their way into Windows Mobile devices as well.

Microsoft has seen its smartphone share remain in the single digits, as leading Symbian and Nokia phones carry much of the market. The operating system has been plagued by a general lack of interest among phone manufacturers, as well as limited availability of Windows Mobile phones from wireless carriers.

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