Microsoft has launched Windows-driven smartphones and a new version of its mobile operating system at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.
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The launch of the Windows Mobile version 6.5 operating system was mooted last week. Microsoft is hoping the smartphones backed by hardware partners HTC and LG, and operator Orange will give the 6.5 OS a good kick start in the market.
Windows 6.5 is seen by Microsoft as a greater challenge to the Apple iPhone OS and the BlackBerry system from RIM.
The smartphones were unveiled in Barcelona by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the firm's main phone partners. They feature a new "user-friendly interface and a richer browsing experience", said the firm.
In addition, Windows-driven phones will now feature two new services: My Phone, to sync text messages, photos, video, contacts and more to the web and Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a new marketplace that will provide direct-to-phone mobile applications which can be accessed from both the phone and the web.
Contacts are backed up with My Phone so users do not have to worry about losing contacts.
Promised extra services for the Windows Mobile OS were also leaked before the congress.
"Windows phones bring together the best of the web, the PC and the phone so you can connect instantly to the experiences you care about, no matter where you are," Ballmer said.
"We are working with partners across the industry to deliver a new generation of Windows phones that break down the barriers between people, information and applications," said Ballmer.