Microsoft will soon release a new mobile OS for embedded and enterprise devices based on Windows Mobile 6.5, to be followed by an enterprise-focused version of Windows Phone 7 in 2011, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said by video at the launch of a new Motorola enterprise smartphone on Thursday.

"In the next six months we will release a new embedded OS called Windows Embedded Handheld, based on Windows Mobile 6.5 technologies ... [and] in the second half of 2011, we will release a version of Windows Embedded Handheld based on Windows Phone 7 technology," Ballmer said on the video.

Microsoft will spend the intervening time "working on a clear path for enterprises to migrate their line-of-business applications to our new application platform" for Windows Phone 7, Ballmer said.

Ballmer's announcement was made at the launch of the Motorola ES400, a Windows Mobile 6.5.3-based handheld designed for businesses which will be sold through Sprint's enterprise channels. Knowing Microsoft's future plans is important for corporate IT managers to do their planning and continue to work with Microsoft, said Motorola's president of enterprise mobility solutions, Gene Delaney.

"That's one of the key differentials from a consumer type environment," Delaney said.

The ES400 is part of Motorola's successful "enterprise digital assistant" line, which addresses the specific needs of larger businesses. Motorola's EDA devices are produced by a different part of the business than their consumer phones. (The enterprise group was formerly known as Symbol.) So where "consumer Motorola" has gone all-in with Google's Android OS, the enterprise unit seems to still be committed to Microsoft's OSes.

"We look forward to defining the roadmap for the next generation of the newly branded Microsoft mobile OS," Motorola's co-chief executive Greg Brown said on a video at the event.

"Motorola is certainly a valued partner of Microsoft in helping to evolve our platform strategy ... and we look forward to a continued partnership," Ballmer said.

EDAs cost a lot per unit, but they're rugged and come with comprehensive service contracts and enterprise-friendly features like IT manageability and line-of-business applications.

For instance, your average consumer handheld isn't going to have a "push to scan" button - a dedicated button next to the navigation key which activates a barcode scanner. The camera on the ES400 is in the middle of the back, and incorporates a red LED to let you center it for scanning.

The ES400 runs an interestingly skinned version of Windows Mobile 6.5.3, which Motorola calls its "enterprise user interface." The ES400's home screen echoes Windows Phone 7 with a grid of bold, colored "live icons" showing alerts and messages in a Windows Phone 7-type font. Dig deeper, and you'll find a main application menu organized into a large grid; dig a little deeper, and you get Windows Mobile 6.5.

"This product although it looks very much like a consumer product, it has features and the ruggedness you would expect of an enterprise type product, the security you would expect of an enterprise type product," Delaney said.

The ES400 runs on a 600-MHz ARM11 processor. It supports GSM HSPA, Sprint's CDMA EVDO, and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g - yes, that's "a," which is the relatively unusual high-speed Wi-Fi variant used by some large businesses. There's a fingerprint reader on the back. Every part of it is rugged, including the keyboard. Making the device rugged greatly prevents failure rates and saves companies $500 per device over three years, Motorola said.

The phone's 3-inch, 640-by-480 touch screen uses the PenTile arrangement with an additional dedicated white pixel, which uses fewer subpixels to provide similar visual resolution as opposed to standard RGB displays, in exchange for providing better brightness and lower power usage.

The ES400 will launch later this year, Sprint and Motorola said; the companies didn't announce a price. EDA devices are usually sold through large volume deals, so prices tend to vary wildly based on number of units ordered and existing business relationships.

Microsoft seems to not be playing around these days. Alot of new Technology - Hardware and Software for the 2010 year

Source PCMag
Microsoft Announces Mobile OS for Enterprise Devices | News & Opinion |