Earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain Microsoft showed off the latest bells and whistles of its mobile platform. But at the event no release date was announced for Windows Mobile 6.5. Now it is official, the mobile OS will launch on Monday, May 11.
And as I’ve already reported, the OS won’t have a long life. Windows Mobile 7.0 will arrive next year. But don’t’ think of the 6.5 version as a total stopgap. This OS, which has been compared to that of the iPhone, will feature a more dashboard-like interface. This will make it easier for users to check e-mail, send text messages and check their calendar. Best of all, this improved version will feature the latest version of the Internet Explorer Mobile browser.
iPhone Targets Small Biz, A&T Improves Network
On the iPhone front it isn’t just business as usual, but rather a targeting of business. The latest iPhone ad campaign is noting how users can take advantage of some of the business functionality of the handset. Most notable is the latest ad that shows how you can take credit card transactions, print a shipping label and even check on delivery status. Only on the iPhone says the campaign.
But only if the network can handle everything say many users. To that end iPhone users are speaking up, and AT&T is listening. According to the word from the company, AT&T has been working to increase download speeds on its 3G network, and further increasing network capacity with the addition of new cell sites. The result is theoretical maximum speeds of up 7.2 megabits per second or essentially double the current maximum speed.
No doubt much of this increase in speed and capacity is being done to increase AT&T’s chances of remaining the exclusive carrier for the iPhone. Currently the deal between Apple and AT&T will expire next year, but the carrier is looking to extend the deal through 2011.
Free TV on Your Handset
One promise that has yet to deliver is TV on the mobile phone. It is here of course, but it hardly lives up to the hype. But that could be change quickly.
This week at the National Associations of Broadcaster’s annual conference in Las Vegas, it was announced that a new pilot program is launching in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area that will allow people to watch free mobile digital TV on mobile handsets and other devices. Through this program local affiliate stations for the networks, including CBS, NBC, PBS, Ion and Fox, will begin to broadcast their content by late summer. And this will be available to cellular phones, laptop computers and even car entertainment systems – the latter being questionable – as it’s aimed at the passengers, not the drivers. This trial will eventually increase to 28 markets, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Atlanta.
This comes as the switch over from all-digital transmissions goes through in June barring no second last minute reprieve. As part of this switch over, some broadcasters will make the move to also broadcast on a digital sub-channel specifically for mobile devices via the ATSC Mobile DTV standard. It is also worth noting that Washington was one of the first test markets for HDTV nearly a decade ago.
All this sounds great and should look great. But there is a hurdle. At present time, there are no mobile handsets that actually support the mobile DTV standard and even other devices, such as laptops are only now starting to come.
But anytime you have a new system, you’ll need new devices to support it. This is just another case of “build it” and they will come. This time around they’ll need to build it, and someone else will need to build the devices… but then DTV will come in loud and clear straight to your handset.