Microsoft Changes Pocket PC's Name

LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft is gradually phasing out its Pocket PC and Smartphone brands in favor of an overarching Windows Mobile brand, a company representative says.

In the past 18 months, Microsoft has already been pushing the Windows Mobile brand more than the individual Pocket PC and Smartphone names. Over the next year or two, the product category names will be completely phased out as the technologies merge, said Scott Horn, a senior director in Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices group, in an interview at the International Consumer Electronics Show here.

"We are emphasizing Windows Mobile as device categories are coming together," he says. He adds that 90 percent of the code for Pocket PC and for Smartphone is the same.

Microsoft introduced Pocket PC as a brand in 2000 when it entered the personal digital assistant market. Smartphone came around in 2002 when the first phone running Microsoft software was introduced in Europe.

Less Confusion?

Without the Pocket PC and Smartphone names, there is no longer a distinction between Windows Mobile phone-centric devices and data-centric devices, which could confuse consumers. "We will have to be more explicit in communicating device capabilities," Horn says.

The Pocket PC name in particular has become a common brand and is used broadly. Hewlett-Packard uses the Pocket PC name for its IPaq devices. Microsoft is working with device makers on the naming changes, Horn says.

In the future, retailers will sell Windows Mobile devices instead of Pocket PCs and Smartphones. Most of the devices will offer phone capabilities, according to Horn, and buyers will select based on a list of device capabilities and their needs.

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