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Betting on the Mobile Enterprise

People are getting used to leaving their laptops behind and conducting all of their email, Internet and other mobile business on smartphones. Have you seen how fast some middle-aged business types can tap on tiny keyboards?

The trend hasn’t been lost on Microsoft, which announced a major alliance with Nokia on August 12. The companies will work to optimize Mobile Office apps for future Symbian devices, starting with Mobile Office Communicator Mobile in 2010 on the Nokia Eseries, which targets business professionals.

If Microsoft optimizes Mobile Office for devices that don’t run Windows Mobile -- a very smart business move –- what does the future hold for the Windows Mobile OS, especially as hardware manufacturers start to embrace other operating systems?

On August 19, a Windows Mobile Dev Camp is taking place in Seattle. Developers are urged to bring a development project and learn about Windows Mobile 6.5 development alongside the Windows Mobile team and industry representatives such as T-Mobile and AT&T. The dev camp will not cover Windows Mobile 7.

News editor Jeffrey Schwartz offers more details about tomorrow’s bar-camp style event, which will be streamed, in his article, "Can Dev Camps Give Windows Mobile a Boost?"

Interestingly, the host of the WinMoDevCamp is Giovanni Gallucci, notes Schwartz. Gallucci was among those who spearheaded the PreDevCamp for the Palm Pre but stepped aside in June following a dispute with Palm.

"I've have a long career with Microsoft, that's actually the original platform I developed on," said Gallucci, in an interview explaining his switch in focus from one platform to another.

It’s hard to figure out what Microsoft’s mobile strategy is and the “choice” mantra meant to cover the myriad of devices and inconsistent UX with Windows Mobile, may backfire as hardware manufacturers and users adopt operating systems with more current functionality.

On a more positive note, this month blogs such as Gizmodo have noted the Zune-like UI of the latest demos of Windows 6.5. WMExperts is also raving about the upcoming Zune HD and hopes a similar UX finds its way into Windows Mobile 7.

Microsoft announced that retailers were taking pre-orders for Zune HD, the first touch-screen Zune, expected to hit stores on September 15. The Zune HDs (16GB and 32GB with estimated retail prices of $219.99 and $289.99), support HD radio and HD video output with an HDMI A/V docking station sold separately.

Is Microsoft all over the place or headed in the right direction? Is the Nokia partnership the real future of Microsoft software on smartphones? Express your thoughts below or drop me a line at [email protected]

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 08/18/2009

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