Pocket PC woos corporate users

The extra business functionality in the latest version of Microsoft's operating system for mobile devices will encourage more...

The extra business functionality in the latest version of Microsoft's operating system for mobile devices will encourage more corporate use of handhelds, according to analysts.

The Pocket PC 2002 platform, released this week, allows users to access Windows-based servers and can connect to corporate information via a virtual private network, Microsoft said. The operating system also offers a range of wireless connectivity options and the ability to upgrade to future versions more easily.

The release of Pocket PC 2002 is significant for business, according to IDC analyst Tim Mui. "This will definitely encourage enterprise use," he said. "Particularly because it is easily upgradable and has a host of wireless connectivity options."

Surveys from handheld company Palm have shown that 80% of handheld devices are used in the workplace, but largely just for personal information management. Microsoft hopes the increased connectivity features in Pocket PC 2002 will encourage more widespread business use.

Another factor holding back corporate implementations of handheld technology has been the difficulty in managing a host of different devices.

Microsoft said it has attempted to overcome this by making interoperability with Palm operating system-based devices easier. Palm still has the majority of the mobile devices market.

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