Last week, Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 2003, a new brand name that encompasses Pocket PCs, Pocket PC Phone Edition devices, and Windows Powered Smartphones. All these devices are based on Windows CE .NET and offer quite a few improvements over past Windows CE-based devices. For detailed information about Windows Mobile 2003, go to the following URL: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/default.mspx
New Pocket PC features include the following: - zero-configuration Wi-Fi support - built-in Bluetooth support - Redesigned Connection Manager - enhanced messaging support (among other things, the device automatically suggests email addresses as you type and provides an autocorrect feature for text) - keyboard shortcuts - enhanced contacts - multiday views and vCal support in Calendar - built-in imaging support - Windows Media Player (WMP) 9 - an improved version of Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer (IE) that offers better performance
Pocket PC Phone Edition 2003 is now capable of resuming suspended connections if you're using a Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)/General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) connection or dormant mode on a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) connection. In both cases, the device can resume data communication after a voice-call interruption. The new version also provides the following: - automatic "always up-to-date" synchronization of calendar, contacts, and email data - better Short Message Service (SMS) support, including Caller ID and a built-in character counter - improved connectivity notification, including a signal-strength indicator - separate volume controls for the phone ringer and the Pocket PC speaker - a variety of ring tones - selective blocking of incoming and outgoing calls - a call mute icon
Windows Powered Smartphones are a somewhat different breed. Currently available only in a tri-band GSM/GPRS phone from Orange (formerly Microtel) in the UK, the Windows Powered Smartphone offers a subset of Pocket PC Phone Edition features optimized for one-handed operation using a typical mobile-phone touchpad. I'm delighted to report that Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Symbol are offering kits to upgrade Pocket PC 2002 devices to Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC Edition. Also, Microsoft has a FAQ on this topic that might be helpful to owners of devices from other vendors. For more information, go to the following URLs:
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?tabpage=overview&sku=310-4214&spagenum=1&category_id=5538&keyword=&c=us&l=en&cs=19&mnf=&prst=&pren d=&mnfsku=&orderby=&searchtype=&pageb4search=&page=productlisting.aspx&instock=&refurbished= http://www.hp.com/sbso/special/ppc_upgrade.html http://software.symbol.com/search.cfm?cat=14 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/products/pocketpc/about/2003/upgrade.mspx
I'm happy to see that vendors are offering upgrades immediately, rather than making users of existing devices wait (or requiring them to buy new hardware), as we saw with earlier versions of Windows CE. However, I'm disappointed to see that Microsoft has removed all references to the Handheld PC (H/PC) form factor from its revised Mobile Devices Web site. I'm a longtime fan of the larger H/PC devices, which have built-in keyboards. Both NEC and HP continue to make the devices, but you would be hard pressed to find that information on Microsoft's Web site. You can still find downloads (e.g., Microsoft Power Toys 3.0) for H/PCs at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads . Select Windows CE from the Product/Technology list, and type "handheld" as a keyword.