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Microsoft's Smartphone

Tue Jan 6, 2004 - 12:44 AM EST - By Michael Ducker


Believe it or not, I also follow the Pocket PC world. On a daily basis I read and Brighthand�s PPC coverage to stay informed of the competition.

One day I saw a blurb about a Mobile Tech Tour that Microsoft was doing; actually it was called �Microsoft Windows Mobile U.S.A/Canada 2003 User Group Tour�.

At the time the first mainstream Windows Smartphone 2003 device, the Motorola MPx200, was released so I was curious about how this device fit into the vision of a smartphone platform, and what Microsoft was actually up to. The focus of this tour was to demo Microsoft Smartphone devices, and talk about their goals. It sounded good, so I decided to register, and in early December I attended a tour stop of the conference.

What makes a Smartphone?

I was the only Treo user in the room. In fact, I think I might have been the only Palm OS user in the room. Granted, this was a Pocket PC User group meeting, but I thought other Palm people might be curious to see what�s going on.

Running the �tour� were two Microsoft employees, Jason Gorden and Andrew Brown from Microsoft�s Mobile and Embedded Devices Division.

One of the first things discussed was the definition of a smartphone. I was interested in this because few people, even analysts, can yet categorize what a Treo or a MS Smartphone really are.

The speakers gave two points on what makes a phone �smart�. The first is that a smartphone must be able to be used offline (for example when on a plane, or in a foreign country) to provide basic PDA functions. The other key point was that they are sync-able. The PIM data from your desktop is to be accessible from your smartphone, with limited data entry (T9) on the phone.

The Treo fits both of these definitions. However what separates the two is while a Microsoft Smartphone can do limited data entry it would be uncomfortable to reply to long emails on this device. The keyboard and touch screen of the Treo enables much greater flexibility than that of the Microsoft smartphone.

Jason also talked about how carriers find that smart phones generate higher revenue than normal phones, and therefore they like them. Handspring has found the same thing with the Treo 600. Overall, it is agreed upon that smartphones generate larger per-user revenues compared to the average cell phone user.

Microsoft Smartphones, and Motorola�s MPx200 >>

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