Software heavy Microsoft has officially released its brand new Windows Mobile 6.5 mobile operating system (OS), along with a global launch of many new devices running the software from companies including HTC, Samsung and LG--all of which are officially called "Windows phones."Windows Mobile 6.5 and the associated Windows phones pack a number of valuable new additions for Windows Mobile users, like a new My Phone feature that backs-up your personal data to "the cloud," among other things, and a Custom Theme Creator that lets you personalize the look and feel of your device.
Microsoft's announcements, made at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment event in San Diego, Calif., were mostly consumer-related, but the company's Senior Product Manager for Windows Mobile, Greg Sullivan, wants businesses to know that Windows Mobile 6.5 isn't all fun and games.
The software packs all of the same security and manageability features that IT departments have come to depend on in previous editions of Windows Mobile, Sullivan says.
And though he acknowledges the consumer-centric nature of Microsoft's Windows phone announcements, Sullivan says that the company's new mobile OS and the phones that run it are really aimed at the "Life Maximizer," or the professional who wants to receive both corporate and personal mail on their device, as well as use it as an everyday-life organizer and optimizer.
Windows Mobile 6.5 has a few new features that should please business users, as well. For example, it ships with a new version of Internet Explorer (IE) that supports Adobe's Flash Lite so business users have access to new and different sorts of online multimedia content and a more versatile browsing experience in general. Browsing via Windows Mobile's Internet Explorer mobile browser is also more similar to the desktop IE experience, so websites look mostly the same on Windows phones and Windows PC, Microsoft says.
Improvements to Exchange Server synchronization and Outlook Mobile mean users can manage multiple accounts directly from their devices.
And the version of Mobile Office that ships with the device allows for both editing and viewing of Office documents--BlackBerry devices, which are particularly popular in corporate environments, ship with a mobile office suite from Documents To Go, but you need to purchase the full version for access to document editing and creation capabilities.
Finally, Sullivan stressed that corporations that deploy Windows Mobile devices, or Windows phones, also benefit from the fact that most don't need to buy third-party hardware or software to manage and support the devices thanks to Exchange, which means less complexity in the long-run and reduced infrastructure costs, he says.
Curious about Sullivan's device of choice at the moment? HTC's Touch Pro2, due to its functional, full-QWERTY keyboard, strong build quality, large touch-screen and, of course, Windows Mobile OS. Verizon's brand new HTC Imagio, which Sullivan calls "sexy," has also grabbed his attention.
Learn more about Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows phones on Microsoft's website.
This story, "Microsoft Pushes Windows Phone for Business Users" was originally published by CIO.