Microsoft unveiled its new software (Windows Mobile 6.5) for mobile phones on Tuesday, while Google announced a partnership with Verizon to develop phones based on its Android operating system.
Phones based on Microsoft's new Windows Mobile 6.5 software, are set to compete with Apple's iPhones and Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices.
Windows phones allows users to navigate their phone easily with the touch of a finger and browse the Internet using a redesigned Internet Explorer mobile browser with Adobe Flash Lite.
People can also connect to two new services that allow them to back up and share data from their phone to the Web (My Phone service) and buy a variety of applications from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
Windows Marketplace for Mobile offers people access to not only line-of-business applications for work, but also popular mobile applications for play such as Facebook, MySpace, Netflix, Twikini, WunderRadio and ZAGAT, as well as leading game titles including Sudoku, "Guitar Hero World Tour" and the "PAC-MAN" series, all of which can be easily purchased and installed directly on a Windows phone.
People can also publish their photos from the My Phone Web site or their phone directly to Windows Live, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr. As part of the free service, people can go online and map the last known location of their phone from when it was last synchronized. In addition, a set of more advanced "lost phone" features are being offered as a premium package that people can activate as needed. The My Phone Premium package includes the ability to immediately locate the phone?s current location on a map (in the U.S. only); remotely lock a phone and post an "if found" message to its screen; loudly ring the phone even if it is set to vibrate or silent mode; and ultimately, if needed, completely erase the phone to protect personal data from falling into the wrong hands. People using My Phone on their phone running either Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.1 or 6.5 can access the premium package free of charge until Nov. 30, 2009. After that date, seven-day access to the premium package will be available for purchase for $4.99 in the U.S.
The Windows phones also support Outlook Mobile and Exchange Server synchronization, offer the ability to use PowerPoint and open and edit Word and Excel documents with Microsoft Office Mobile. Users can also enjoy the new enhanced Windows Live experience with What?s New feeds and improved Windows Live photo sharing across major social networking sites (such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr).
Microsoft expects partners to deliver more than 30 new phones in more than 20 countries by the end of 2009.
Windows phones in North America inlcude HTC Pure from AT&T,
HTC Imagio from Verizon Wireless, Samsung Intrepid from Sprint, available Oct. 11, 2009 and HTC Tilt 2 from AT&T, available in the coming weeks
The new HTC Imagio has a 3.6-inch high-resolution touch-screen display, a 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and anti-shake technology, plus GPS and GSM connectivity.
The Samsung Intrepid features a slim design and full QWERTY keyboard that allows users to text, Instant Message and email with ease, plus a touch screen for added flexibility.
The HTC Tilt 2 has distinct style and features a high-resolution 3.6 inch widescreen display and full slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
The HTC PURE incorporates a 3.2 inch display and a slim, sharp design. The device features sensitive touch screen technology, which allows for fast and easy zooming of web pages, emails, text messages, photos and documents.
In Europe, the Windows phone list includes MDA Vario V, MDA Compact V and HTC Touch2 and the Samsung Omnia II from Deutsche Telekom in select European markets, HTC HD2 from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France, HTC Touch2 from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France, Spain, Switzerland and Romania. A software update for the HTC Touch Pro2 from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France, U.K. and Romania. Samsung Omnia II from Orange, available in the coming weeks in Poland, Switzerland and Slovakia and from early December in France. Samsung Omnia LITE from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France and Spain, and
Samsung Omnia PRO B7320 from Orange, available in the coming weeks in France and the U.K.
Information about the latest updates and new Windows phones is available at http://www.windowsphone.com.
Google also annuonced today
it was teaming up with Verizon Wireless to co-develop multiple phones based on its Android operating system. They plan to bring two phones to market this year. Google said there are more than 10,000 free and paid apps available for Android smartphones.
The first Android phones from Verizon Wireless will support the Google Voice software application, which allows consumers to make low-priced international calls and which Apple has yet to approve for its iPhone.
Motorola is already offering its Cliq phone in the U.S. and HTC plans to introduce the Hero phone next week.
In a sign of how critical apps have become in the smartphone race, Palm also announced it was making its "WebOS" smartphone software more open for outside developers to create applications.