A year after first launching its web services framework targeting the service providers community, Microsoft Corp. will introduce a new set of features Windows Mobile platform designed to illustrate the company’s commitment of becoming a leading provider of infrastructure software for cellular operators and equipment companies alike.
In his upcoming keynote speech on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will declare their presence at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona by taking a number of steps including the acquisition of a mobile search technology firm, new partnerships with leading U.S. manufacturers Texas Instruments and Motorola and a horde of customer wins for various mobile feature sets.
His keynote comes a year after the company first announced its Microsoft Connected Services Framework at the 2005 3GSM confab (then in Cannes). Using industry standards such as Extensible Markup Language (XML), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Services Description Language (WSDL), the framework outlined a service-oriented architecture (SOA) for mobile operators to deploy interoperable Web services.
But while the software giant is relying on the platform to attract service providers, it is also courting subscribers with an online software services user interface dubbed “Live” since November. Shortly before Christmas, Microsoft bowed a public beta version of Windows Mobile Live, leaving open the possibility that “Live” will make a special guest appearance in Ballmer’s speech.
In an effort to revamp the search portion of the beta, Microsoft on Monday announced the acquisition of Paris-based MotionBridge, a provider of mobile search technology with major communications customers in Europe and North America. With MotionBridge’s technology, Microsoft said it plans to move forward on mobile search solutions for Windows Live, enabling mobile users to quickly find relevant search results on the Internet. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The “Live” innovation doesn’t mean Microsoft has abandoned Windows Mobile 5.0 – at least, not yet. In conjunction with the newly formed Unified Communications Group (formerly known as the Real-Time Collaboration Group), Microsoft will announce it is enabling Cingular Wireless, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone to offer Direct Push
functionality, enhanced security and device management on Smartphones powered by Windows Mobile 5.0 with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP).
Microsoft’s device partners have also introduced several new devices to ship out-of-the-box with MSFP. New devices include HP iPAQ hw6900 Mobile Messenger, Fujitsu Siemens FS Pocket Loox, Gigabyte g-Smart and g-Smart I handsets and ASUS P305 3G-enabled Smartphone.
Microsoft and Motorola
have strengthened their existing relationship by integrating Windows Media technologies into a number of Motorola handsets. Motorola's music handsets will add support for Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM), Windows Media Audio (WMA), the enhanced Windows Media Audio Pro codec and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP).
Amoi Electronics, HTC Corp. and Sagem Communication will also be delivering new Windows Mobile-based Smartphones over the next 12 months. That’s thank largely to Microsoft’s joint development efforts with Texas Instruments on TI's OMAPV1030 EDGE chipset, which the companies consider the industry’s first single-core smartphone chipset.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has also announced its Connected Services Framework has been adopted by more than a dozen communications companies, including Bell Canada, BT Retail and Celcom Malaysia. France Telecom is currently trialing this solution. Through joint work with Ubiquity Software, Microsoft plans to demonstrate how Connected Services Framework allows operators to extend the capabilities of an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture to build integrated, real-time applications that access multiple Web services and can be dynamically re-aggregated based on user preferences.
Robert Liu is Executive Editor at TMCnet. Previously, he was Executive Editor at Jupitermedia and has also written for CNN, A&E, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. For more articles, please visit Robert Liu's columnist page