Microsoft introduces Windows Mobile 2003

— 4:25 AM on June 24, 2003

Microsoft has introduced a new operating system for handheld devices called Windows Mobile 2003. Windows Mobile 2003 isn't an entirely new product; it's actually just the latest version of the Pocket PC operating system that Microsoft has decided to rename this time around. The new operating system will see action in Pocket PCs and Smartphones, so using a more generic "Mobile" brand makes sense.

What has Microsoft done to beef up its new mobile operating system? Gone wild with wireless networking, of course. New "Zero Configuration" WiFi software automatically snoops for wireless networks and archives individual networks settings for the next time the hot spot is encountered. Bluetooth support is in, too, as is new network management software.

In addition to adding new networking features, Microsoft has also improved the Pocket PC OS's personal information management software and its version of Internet Explorer. Windows Media Player 9 also makes an appearance in Windows Mobile 2003, which rounds out the operating system's multimedia capabilities.

Overall, Windows Mobile 2003 looks to be targeting business users with access to wireless networks more than anything. However, there are still just enough multimedia features to keep things interesting for more mainstream consumers. With Palm's next operating system likely to emerge this year, PDAs may actually get interesting again. I have a feeling that cheap, widely-deployed WiFi networks would inject a significant amount of interest in WiFi-capable PDAs, too..

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