Microsoft demonstrated its web-enabled Windows CE smart phone in the US this week, almost a year after chairman Bill Gates unveiled a prototype of the device in Europe.
Codenamed Stinger, the phone is another example of Microsoft's push into mobile communications. As with its PocketPC technology, the Redmond giant will not sell Stinger itself but will provide a reference model to original equipment manufacturers.
The device has a colour screen for displaying text and images, and applications include the ubiquitous calendar and address book. It also features the Mobile Explorer micro-browser, and a mobile version of Outlook which lets users synchronise the exchange of data between Stinger and a remote server.
Ben Waldman, Microsoft's vice president of PocketPC and wireless applications, said the company wants to incorporate the functions of a personal digital assistant into a mobile phone.
The first products using the Stinger technology are expected on the market next year, and Samsung has already signed up as a manufacturer.
Waldman said Microsoft is also increasing its commitment to PocketPC and will announce new products before the end of the year.
"Mobile devices are a key part of Microsoft's new extended vision," he said.
Gates first demonstrated Stinger at the Telecom 99 trade show in Geneva last October, but little has been heard of it since then.
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