Key features of the new operating system include Bluetooth functionality, enhanced e-mail synchronisation and improved imaging and media applications.
Jessica Figueras, senior analyst at Ovum, said Microsoft is "just filling the gaps" with this release and Bluetooth should have been included two or three releases ago.
Ashim Pal, vice-president at Meta Group, said while the launch marked a further maturation of the Pocket PC platform, it would not have a dramatic impact on the market. "It is not a revolutionary change because the big change came last year with Pocket PC 2002. It is a consolidation of many of the improvements of the 2002 offering," he said.
Although Pal believes the improved wireless connectivity is beneficial, he said Microsoft still has some way to go to build a mobile offering that is both small and rich in functionality.
Pal also warned that Microsoft's claim that the inclusion of the .net Compact Framework will help developers build .net applications that support web services and XML is premature. "It is really a case of 'not yet'," he said. "The .net Compact Framework is still evolving."
Devices based on Windows Mobile are already available from Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. JVC and Gateway will launch products later this year.
Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC will come in Professional and Premium editions, with the latter incorporating Microsoft Reader, Terminal Services Client and the Pictures image editing tool.
Key features of Pocket PC 2003
- Built-in Bluetooth functionality and improved Wi-Fi connectivity
- Better e-mail synchronisation
- Improved digital imaging
- Support for the .net Compact Framework
- Access to digital media content over Wi-Fi networks
- New Pocket Internet Explorer