Microsoft announces wireless platform

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San Diego--Microsoft Corp. late Thursday demonstrated next-generation software for wireless devices, as it launched its Pocket PC 2002 brand at the DemoMobile 2001 trade show in San Diego. The Redmond, Wash.-based company said hand-held devices would begin to be released into the retail market with Pocket PC 2002 operating system software on Oct. 4. Ben Waldman, VP of Microsoft's mobile devices division, said the new software offers a more stable operating system. Microsoft released its first Pocket PC operating system about a year ago. The platform is significant in part because of the predicted growth of wireless communications for b-to-b sales and marketing purposes. Microsoft added auto-configuration options and made interoperability with Palm operating system-based devices easier with the new software. It also added a new Windows Media Player with support for video and high-quality audio. A terminal services application-specifically designed for b-to-b-allows sales and marketing executives to sync information gathered in the field to corporate Web servers. The new software also supports what Microsoft calls "strong passwords,'' but the software powerhouse did not elaborate on the increased security capability.Casio Computer Corp., Cesscom, Compal Electronics Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., HTC, HTW, Intermec Technologies Corp., Legend, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Sagem, SymbolTechnologies and Toshiba Corp. are among hand-held device manufacturers expected to support the new operating system. The launch of the software was orchestrated by Microsoft public relations agency Waggener Edstrom, Lake Oswego, Ore.

--John Evan Frook

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