Microsoft to start push service trial in Japan

Microsoft Corp.’s Japanese unit and four partners will conduct trials of a push service for distributing information to users of Microsoft Windows Powered Handheld PCs in Japan, the company announced Wednesday.

The four partners, NTT DoCoMo Inc., Aicon Inc., Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc. and BeMap Inc. are members of the consortium for push service technologies, part of Microsoft’s Mobile Solution Partner Program. The program is designed to exchange information and resources for services on mobile devices running Microsoft’s Pocket PC and Handheld PC software.

Around 1,000 users of Handheld PCs will be invited to register to receive push signals from a server via PHS (Personal Handyphone System) mobile-phone networks, every time Web content provided by the companies is updated. Trial participants will need to have a PHS card, which will turn their handheld devices’ power on when a signal is received, and will be supplied with middleware to monitor the signals and automatically start up applications, according to a statement from Microsoft.

“Currently, in order to check e-mail or access the Internet, users of Handheld PCs and Pocket PCs need to pull information,” said Microsoft spokeswoman Aki Araki. “The purpose of this trial is to provide a push service for corporate users that wish to send data to employees on the move, and to investigate what kind of push services are demanded by corporate users.”

Aicon will provide middleware and servers for the push service, while Kozo Keikaku Engineering will provide the Web content and system integration. BeMap will run the trial service and NTT DoCoMo will provide the PHS service to push the data, the statement said.

The companies will start collecting trial users on Jan 28 and rolling out the service on Feb. 4. The trial will continue until the end of April.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or