New Windows Mobile Initiatives Appear at CTIA

At the CTIA WIRELESS 2009 trade show in Las Vegas this week, Microsoft is promoting current and upcoming versions of its Windows Mobile software for smart phones. And although Microsoft President Robbie Bach's keynote address is on Thursday, the company unveiled a few mobile initiatives today.

"We know it's the experiences that mobile phones can offer to people that really matter," Mr. Bach says. "The continued support from the world's top mobile operators, manufacturers, and developers means you can choose the Windows phone, applications, and experiences that are right for you. We're excited about what we can offer on Windows phones, combined with our new mobile services."

First, the software giant has signed up some major partners to create Windows Mobile applications, including game maker Electronic Arts (EA) Mobile and social-networking giant MySpace. These companies will join other top-tier app developers and services, including (among others) CNBC, Facebook, Namco, Netflix, Sling Media, and Zagat Survey.

Microsoft also revealed that customers who purchase applications from its Windows Marketplace for Mobile service will be able to return apps for a full refund if they do so within the first 24 hours. Additionally, Windows Mobile developers will be able to electronically update their apps on users' phones for free.

Microsoft has also partnered with two prominent design houses—the Design Museum London and the Council of Fashion Designers of America—which will provide Windows Mobile users with free themes (consisting of wallpaper and color schemes) that customers can use to personalize their phones. Microsoft is also creating a Windows Mobile Theme Generator that will let users create personalized Windows Mobile themes on their PCs, then send them to their phones.

Finally, Microsoft has announced some Windows Live integration pieces. The company's free Windows Live for Mobile software will be released in 25 additional languages on April 2, providing customers with new mobile versions of Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger, Contacts, Spaces, and Microsoft Live Search, as well as enhanced photo-upload capabilities. And a new beta version of Windows Live Hotmail is now available for mobile browsers, accessible via This release includes an improved UI, search, support for HTML email, and touch-screen compatibility.

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