Microsoft previews mobile strategy

Mike Wehrs, Microsoft's director of technology and standards for its Mobility Division, has detailed Microsoft's future mobile...

Mike Wehrs, Microsoft's director of technology and standards for its Mobility Division, has detailed Microsoft's future mobile plans.

Speaking at the the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2004 conference, Wehrs said Microsoft will release Version 2.0 of its .net Compact Framework (CF) before the end of the year. Version 2.0 will add a number of new features to improve the graphics capabilities of smartphones.

The next version of the .net CF will support DirectShow, a primitive or low-level graphical element that supports higher-level multimedia images.

Other areas targeted for upgrades in future versions of the Windows Mobile operating system include support for device management so that enterprise line of business applications can download code and content securely.

Targeted technology for VoIP support includes using the OS to bridge the various network protocols, such as integration of SS7, the landline interconnect protocol, with wireless 802.11x protocols and session handoff. In session handoff, Windows Mobile will support seamless voice roaming between access points and from access points to the Wan.

Many wireless infrastructure vendors have been working with carriers to create one-off solutions for roaming between Wan and WLans. If Microsoft builds this support into the operating system, it will most likely enhance its position with the carriers, according to most analysts.

Intelligent power management is another feature Microsoft labs is currently working on. Smarter power management would vary such elements as screen brightness, depending on the kind of recharging schedule the user deploys.

"If a user recharges every night, then that user might get the brightest screen available all day. However, if they are on a different schedule, recharging only every other night, the screen brightness might be less over that time period," said Wehrs.

Using voice technology, Microsoft intends to go beyond voice dialing commands to natural language understanding so that a user could use a voice request to browse the web.

Wehrs gave no timeframes for deployment of these technologies.

Also at the show, Microsoft's Scott Gode, strategic global director of Windows Mobile and Embedded Devices Group, announced  that Sprint will become the last of the major wireless carriers to offer a Windows Mobile smartphone from AudioVox Communications with a slider that hides the keyboard.

Ephraim Schwartz writes for InfoWorld

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