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Microsoft targets Java with new mobile tools

The ongoing battle between the .NET and Java camps for the hearts and minds of mobile software developers heated up this week as Microsoft Corp. today (June 23) unveiled its Windows Mobile 2003 Software for Pocket PCs.

Microsoft claims that the number of developers building applications for the Pocket PC is up 95% in Q1 2003 from Q1 2002, and that Pocket PC software sales are up more than 67% from Q1 2002.

"The community of Windows Mobile application developers is growing," Irwin Rodrigues, lead product manager of Microsoft mobile devices division, told e-ADT. "We believe that we are addressing the needs of about 7 million developers worldwide with this release."

Microsoft describes the Pocket PC software as an extensible platform for application development that can support developers using Visual Studio .NET 2003 to build and deploy .NET services and applications. The new software takes advantage of the new Windows CE .NET 4.2 operating system and the .NET Compact Framework, said Microsoft officials.

Windows Mobile 2003 enhancements include automatic detection and connection to Wi-Fi networks and personal area networks via native support for Bluetooth; "always-up-to-date" e-mail synchronization through integration with the upcoming Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and native support for integrated keyboard devices; new digital media and imaging functionality, including the ability to store, edit and display digital photos; improved quality of audio and video to allow for more digital media content; the Plus Digital Media Edition, which includes features such as Photo Story for creating "digital photo albums" on the PC for playback on the Pocket PC, and Sync & Go to enable users to synchronize digital content from their PCs; and native support for the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework, which targets enterprise developers, ISVs and solution providers building Web services.

Devices from Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Dell that are based on the new Windows Mobile software are currently available, according to Microsoft officials. Additionally, Gateway and JVC will introduce new Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs later this year, the company said.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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