Microsoft today formally announced at 3GSM07 a full fledged Windows Live for Windows Mobile (that certainly trips off the tongue) client as well as two separate Windows Live Search options for mobile phones:
Today at 3GSM World Congress 2007, Microsoft Corp. announced three new Windows Live™ for mobile services that provide search and communications capabilities to help people access their world of relationships, information and interests from their mobile device. Now available in the United States and the United Kingdom, Live Search for Windows Mobile® and Live Search for Java provide customers with advanced local search and mapping capabilities on their mobile device. In conjunction with the availability of Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft also introduced Windows Live for Windows Mobile — a rich set of Windows Live services including e-mail, instant messaging and search — uniquely designed to work with Windows Mobile powered devices.
Live Search for Windows Mobile and Live Search for Java
Live Search is now available as a software client application on Windows Mobile and Java devices. These Live Search applications represent the latest innovation in mobile search from Microsoft, providing customers with fast, easy-way access to local listings and maps. New capabilities include a unique, category-based search, which virtually eliminates the need to type text into the phone; an option to “map all results” so several listings appear on the same map; aerial imagery; and local traffic status in selected U.S. cities. Live Search for Windows Mobile provides additional new capabilities including satellite imagery, GPS integration and the ability to send search results to a friend.
The new Live Search applications will be available in the United States and the United Kingdom to customers using Windows Mobile powered devices, Nokia Series 40 and Series 60 devices, the Motorola RAZR/SLVR family, and assorted LG and Samsung devices.
Customers interested in the Live Search for Windows Mobile and Live Search for Java applications can go to http://mobile.search.live.com to view a complete list of device availability and download the software for their device at no cost. Users can easily download the Live Search client directly to their mobile phone by going to http://wls.live.com on their phone’s browser.
Windows Live for Windows Mobile
Windows Live for Windows Mobile will provide customers with a rich set of Windows Live services, including Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, Live Search and Windows Live Spaces, uniquely designed to work with Windows Mobile software. Windows Mobile powered devices, with their advanced software, processing power and memory, make ideal platforms for the delivery of Windows Live services. Windows Live for Windows Mobile offers one of the first industry examples of a single integrated and presence-enabled contact list on a mobile device. One consolidated list provides customers with easy access to all their Windows Live, Microsoft Office Outlook® and other contacts, as well as relevant presence information.
The Windows Live Developer Program for Mobile now supports the development tools for independent software vendors (ISVs) to create applications such as Windows Live for Windows Mobile. The developer program provides software development kits, testing guidelines and support to ISVs to develop Windows Live for mobile solutions for Windows Mobile, Java, Symbian and Palm devices, and deploy them with mobile operators. Developers who are interested in joining the Windows Live Developer Program for Mobile should contact email@example.com.
More details by following the link, but except for the Java variant these seem like predictable mappings of Windows Live services to the Windows Mobile form factor and infrastructure. The outreach to other platforms including actually building a Java version of Live Search is reasonably prompted by the desire to not exclude any possible ciustomers and after all that is the point of a Web based service.
Last November, several vendors got together to form a group called the Linux Phone Standard (LiPS) Forum to help their use of Linux on mobile phones better compete with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Symbian’s offerings. Apparently, that wasn’t enough because another group of vendors have gotten together with similar intent – Operators plan to stuff Microsoft, Symbian with mobile Linux:
A powerful bunch of players in the mobile phone sector announced plans to build an open Linux-based operating system for mobile devices.
The group, made up of Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone, said it would form an independent foundation to promote the platform. In a statement today, the group said the foundation would “leverage the benefits of community-based and proprietary development”.
There’s more from Nancy Gohring at InfoWorld on the as yet unnamed group:
The creation of a common platform might help spur growth of Linux phones, a segment that has been hampered by fragmentation, said Tony Cripps, an analyst at Ovum. The Linux handsets on the market now use unique specifications, making it difficult for developers to create applications that can work across different devices, he said.
The lack of an open, common approach has also meant that Linux handsets haven’t been able to compete directly with leading mobile operating systems from Symbian or Microsoft, each of which nurtures an open application development ecosystem, he said.
The presence of operators like Vodafone and NTT DoCoMo that order large volumes of handsets is significant. If such a large and influential operator as Vodafone adopts a Linux handsets based on this platform, then other operators are likely to adopt the same or similar phones, Cripps said.
This will be the third mobile Linux group to launch within a year, joining the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum and the Mobile Linux Initiative (MLI). Like the new foundation launched on Friday, the LiPS Forum aims to focus on the creation of APIs to enable interoperability of applications across Linux handsets.
PalmSource Inc., France Telecom SA and Orange SA are among the leaders of LiPS. The MLI, with members that include Motorola and PalmSource, is working on unifying developments around the mobile Linux kernel.
While MLI isn’t involved in the new foundation, it is likely to work with the new organization in the future.
Three groups? I must have missed one.
Stephen Shankland at CNET:
PalmSource, France Telecom’s Orange and several other companies plan on Monday to announce an effort to standardize aspects of Linux running on mobile phones.
The Linux Phone Standard (Lips) Forum wants to standardize Linux interfaces so that higher-level software won’t have to be customized for each variation of the open-source operating system appearing in different cell phone models. If successful, the allies believe they’ll make Linux a better competitor the fast-growing market.
“There’s a need for an alternative to Microsoft and Symbian,” said John Ostrem, a Lips board member, founder of China Mobilesoft and now lead scientist at PalmSource. “We’re interested in reducing fragmentation and introducing a standard Linux platform that will allow people to make Linux phones faster, at lower cost, and with greater interoperability.”
An interesting profile of the usage of Linux in mobile phones was provided last week by Sarah Lacy in Business Week – Linux Answers Phone Makers’ Call:
Since then, Motorola has sold more than 3 million Linux phones in Asia. It’s now starting to ship three models globally, with another scheduled to debut in 2006. The world’s No. 2 cell-phone maker plans to refashion the majority of its handsets around Linux over time, says Greg Besio, Motorola’s head of mobile-device software.
It’s not hard to see the appeal of Linux for cell-phone makers (see BW Online, 9/6/04, “Cell Phones: Don’t Count Linux Out”). It’s cheap, malleable, and supported by millions of programmers the world over. Panasonic (MC) and NEC (NEC) earlier this year started shipping Linux-based phones through Japan’s pioneering telecom giant NTT DoCoMo. And other big phone makers, such as Samsung, are dabbling (see BW Online, 11/8/05, “Dialing Up Linux”).
So far, Linux is mainly running so-called smart phones, high-end handsets that retail for $300 or more. The percentage of smart phones with Linux has leapt to 26% in the second quarter of 2005, from just 6% the year before, according to researcher Gartner. Smart phones are a tiny — but important — slice of the phone business, accounting for about 6% of phone units sold every year.
Smart phones make up 14%, however, of the $300 billion in mobile phones produced annually. They’re also an indicator of where mass-market handsets are headed. Gains for Linux are a potential bane for Symbian, a software consortium that dominates the smart-phone market, with a 65% share. The rising popularity of Linux on cell phones could also stymie efforts by Microsoft (MSFT) to widen its share, currently less than 5%.
Much more by following the link.
Tom Krazit at IDG has the rumor:
Palm, Microsoft, and Verizon plan to hold a press conference Monday in San Francisco, which will probably be the stage for the introduction of a Windows-based Treo smart phone that has been rumored on enthusiast Web sites for weeks.
The three companies did not offer any details about the subject of the press conference in a press release Friday. However, the companies are bringing their top executives to The Palace Hotel in San Francisco on Monday. Palm President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Colligan will be joined by Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and Denny Strigl, Verizon’s president and chief executive officer, at the press conference, the companies said.
Ever since Palm separated from PalmSource Inc., the company that develops the Palm OS, analysts and enthusiasts have been speculating that Palm would eventually turn to a different operating system vendor for its smart phones and personal digital assistants. That speculation reached fever pitch earlier this week, when Engadget ( http://www.engadget.com) posted photos of the unannounced Treo 700w running the Windows Mobile operating system.
Palm, which virtually invented the handheld computing market, has been linked to the Palm OS since its inception. But Microsoft has made steady progress with its mobile operating system, and handheld vendors actually shipped more Windows Mobile-powered devices during the last quarter than Palm OS-based devices, according to Gartner Inc.
More on the new device and the travails of the Palm OS by following the link.