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3/31/2009
06:17 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Microsoft CTIA Announcements

Microsoft is at CTIA this week and they will be making a few announcements today - nothing Earth shattering as Windows Mobile 6.5 has already been announced and Windows Mobile 7 is the worst kept secret out there right now, but there are a few interesting items for mobile device users.

Microsoft is at CTIA this week and they will be making a few announcements today - nothing Earth shattering as Windows Mobile 6.5 has already been announced and Windows Mobile 7 is the worst kept secret out there right now, but there are a few interesting items for mobile device users.First of all, there is more information about the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Over 25 ISVs will announced support for the MS application store, including Facebook, MySpace, CNBC, Accuweather, Ilium Software, Resco, Spb Software, WebIS, Sling Media, Zagat Survey and more.

Microsoft also heard the community outcry over charging developers to upload updates to the application store. This policy has changed. Developers can upload as many updates as they wish "throughout the lifecycle" of the application. I am not sure if lifecycle refers to any and all releases of a particular app, or major version upgrades. Either way, it is far better than what was initially announced. It is good to see large companies listenting to their customers.

On the final bit of info for Marketplace, people will be able to have apps charged either to their credit card or directly on their phone bill. That is a sly move by MS and the carriers. If you have to pull out your credit card and think about the charge, there is a chance you'll have second thoughts before entering or confirming your information, but if your account is tied to your carrier's billing statement, it is easier to just click through and buy the app. If you should change your mind though, MS will offer a full refund within 24 hours of the purchase.

Microsoft is also launching a new web based version of Hotmail for mobile phones. You can play with it at m.mail.live.com/ on your phone. It includes full HTML emails and an improved search feature. Obviously this works on Windows Mobile browsers, but give it a shot if you have smartphone that runs another platform.

Design Museum London and Council of Fashion Designers of America are going to be creating designer themes for Windows Mobile phones. I don't yet know how these will be distributed or if there will be a cost to the end user. If those designs don't work for you, you can use the new Theme Generator. You can use images from your PC and select any color you wish for scroll bars, menus and the selection highlight. Once done, the theme can be sent directly to your phone.

Microsoft is also clarifying the upgrade scenario for Windows Mobile 6.5. It is really up to the manufacturer or carrier as to whether or not they provide an upgrade. WinMo 6.5 should work on any device with 128MB of RAM and a 400MHz processor. If your WinMo 6.1 device has these minimum specs and you don't see a 6.5 upgrade, you'll have to talk to your carrier about it. I am really hoping that Microsoft and its carrier partners have seen how successful the iPhone has been with a constant flow of upgrades for the end user. I think MS has, but I am not sure the carriers see the light yet.

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