Microsoft introduces Smartphone software

An agreement between Microsoft and a Canadian mobile carrier to bring handhelds with Smartphone software to this country has yet to be signed, but a deal is expected in the near future, said Mark Relph, Toronto-based Mobility Solutions Manager for Microsoft Canada.

Microsoft announced on Tuesday the release of its Windows-powered Smartphone software for handhelds, that will allow users to remain connected to their businesses and provide some entertainment. But Canadian mobile professionals will have to wait a while longer for the solution’s debut.

“As new technologies come out, carriers obviously want to make sure that they do testing and build a strong case for how they are going to distribute and provide support around the phones,” Relph said. “Rest assured they are on the way.”

Some international mobile carriers have already signed agreements with Microsoft to provide Smartphone-based products. Orange SA will offer a Smartphone-based phone to the U.K. market beginning on Oct. 28. It also announced AT&T Wireless will bring Smartphone-based handsets to the U.S. by mid-2003.

Smartphone software will enable users to choose their preferred method of communication, whether it be voice, MSN Messenger or short message service (SMS), Relph said.

The software solution will also offer access to Outlook Express that mobile professionals can use to manage their contacts, calendar and tasks, Relph said. For those using Microsoft Exchange, live synchronization can be provided between the handheld and the user’s server over the carrier’s network, keeping the enterprise’s information readily available, he added.

Another attractive feature, according to Relph, is the personalization of the product. Users will be able to choose ring tones and colour schemes, and start-up screens can be tailored to their own tastes.

Relph also believes the form factor of the Smartphone-based handheld, which is based on the Pocket PC operating system, will allow vertical applications to be designed for it. Microsoft believes pushing information down to a phone will be useful in niche markets like sales force automation and customer care, he added.

Along with business uses, the phones can also provide users with some entertainment in the form of digital media and mobile games.

Microsoft Canada can be found at