A drift away from Microsoft's Windows CE (now Pocket PC) operating system was evident when Siemens revealed its plans to sign up with Symbian to develop an EPOC-based device. The Windows CE handheld version with integrated GSM showcased by Siemens at Cebit two years ago has never come to fruition.
Kyocera and Samsung have declared they will use PalmOS in their forthcoming devices. PalmOS's strength as a communications platform was underlined when Handspring announced that its VisorPhone GSM module would shortly be available in Europe. Slotting into Visor handhelds, it will offer mobile communications, Internet capabilities and enable remote users to access centralised data.
However, HP continues to fly the Microsoft flag with the announcement that it will develop a Jornada PocketPC with integrated GSM capabilities.
Taking advantage of GPRS, which will provide always-on mobile services to plug the gap until 3rd generation services are introduced; Microsoft has announced more developments to its Stinger mobile reference platform. Stinger provides a colour operating system and browsing facilities for smartphones; and both Samsung and Sendo unveiled prototypes at 3GSM World.
Meanwhile, the Congress awards saw honours given to BT Cellnet for its limited commercial GPRS service, which hit the market before any other rivals. In the innovative service category, a GSM-based e-wallet, SmartMoney, run by Smart Communications in the Philippines, pipped an Estonian SMS-based parking payment scheme to the top slot.