Microsoft and BT have agreed to develop wireless devices and provide a range of mobile Internet services for consumers, including games and music.
Services will be launched using the MSN Mobile portal during the first half of next year. Devices, including Windows CE based smartphones, will be available for customer trials at the same time.
At Telecom 99 this week Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates spoke of his vision of interactive information "anytime, anywhere and on any device." He also unveiled a prototype of the first Windows CE smartphone, codenamed Stinger.
BT claims the availability of Internet access on fixed devices, like Sega's Dreamcast console, televisions and even kitchen appliances will be repeated in the wireless world, with Internet access to handheld games, phones and watches.
Thomas Koll, vice president of Microsoft's networking solutions group, said a lot of creative services will be developed. "I can't specify what, but you can think of location services. Depending on where you are, you get specific numbers," he said. He also mentioned mapping, GPS, and gaming.
Mobile phones will be the most common device used to access the services, said Microsoft's Koll, although it is also targeting laptop and consumer device users. Several manufacturers are committed to producing Windows CE handsets, he confirmed.
Microsoft last week announced a partnership with BT to develop wireless services for Windows CE devices for use by corporates to access business applications like email and intranet services.
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