Dial a PocketPC
Countering the release of Handspring's Treo communicator, and Palm's new i705 wireless PDA, Microsoft has announced Phone Edition for its increasingly popular PocketPC operating system. C|Net has the scoop:
The announcement will be made in Cannes, France, and the application will be called Microsoft Phone Edition, sources said. The software will allow handhelds to access data and make wireless voice calls. The first devices to support Phone Edition will run on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks and will be a new class of devices from manufacturers supporting the Pocket PC OS.
Unlike its Windows Powered Smartphone 2002 operating system, Microsoft Phone Edition is for data-centric devices first and voice communications second.
Integrated wireless communication does seem like the next big feature for PDAs, especially for corporate users who have a hard time justifying the business need for robust multimedia capabilities. However, adding wireless connectivity doesn't address some of the more pressing shortcomings of the PocketPC platform.
Though its market share has been growing steadily, PocketPC still hasn't come close to challenging the dominance of Palm-based devices in the market. Wireless connectivity is great, but I can't help wondering if the PocketPC platform would have better luck with models poised to compete with low-end, or ultra-slim Palm-based devices.