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Microsoft rebrands Pocket PC as Windows Mobile

Chucks in a handful of enhanced features for good measure

Microsoft has launched the latest version of its Pocket PC platform: Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PCs.

Not, you'll have noted Pocket PC 2003, but Windows Mobile. The software giant is engaging in a little re-branding, pulling together its various mobile device offerings under a single brand.

Essentially, it's pulling Pocket PC and its largely unsuccessful smartphone software. Ironically, Microsoft originally had one brand - Windows CE - but of late it's sought to position that as an embedded OS distinct from the middleware and products (ie. Pocket PC) that sit on top of it.

Rechristening the platform Windows Mobile allows The Beast to cross-promote its products more easily, as it could under the Windows CE brand, but in a way that doesn't get in the way of its CE-as-embedded OS marketing. It also more closely connects Pocket PC and the smartphone stuff to Windows, which is the Microsoft brand people are most familiar with.

The Pocket PC edition of Windows Mobile enhances the platform's support for the latest mobile trends. Wireless network access is updated with native Bluetooth support, and automatic WLAN detection and connection. Microsoft has also added support for built-in keyboards, and brought Windows Media Player 9 components over to the platform, along with better digital device-level photography storage and management. Support for Exchange Server 2003 has been added too.

Stressing the platform's scope for corporate computing and web services, Microsoft said the new Pocket PC is based on Windows CE .NET 4.2, and includes the .NET Compact Framework in ROM.

Announcing devices based on Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PCs included all the usual suspects - Toshiba, Dell, HP, Fujitsu Siemens and others have devices shipping today - and newcomers Gateway and JVC, which will offer products "later this year". ®


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