Microsoft has improved the voice-over-IP (VoIP) capabilities built into its Windows CE 5.0 operating system.
The new elements will make internet telephony more popular among enterprises, and can be deployed across handhelds, data collection devices, games consoles and IP set-top boxes.
Microsoft plans to roll out the software through direct manufacturing partners and the channel.
The company is already working with equipment and device manufacturers including LG Electronics, Casio, Hitachi, Samsung and Symbol to embed the VoIP platform into future products.
The system builds on the basic VoIP functionality available in Windows CE 4.2 and adds multi-party audio conferencing and integration with Exchange Server so that users can access search contacts and calendars and use unified messaging.
"I think there is huge potential for VoIP, but the problem in the past was that the infrastructure was not there," said Hardy Poppinga, Microsoft's EMEA product manager for Windows Embedded.
The software giant claims that Windows CE 5.0 and an advanced customisable user interface will decrease the development time for equipment manufacturers.
"VoIP now offers the same quality as traditional voice calls, and there is a huge opportunity for cost savings," said Poppinga.
Increased VoIP usage can also benefit enterprises by integrating unified messaging, conferencing services, databases queries and call centre administration, according to Microsoft.
The VoIP platform will be generally available in August or September.
Analyst firm Ovum suggested that the new software lays the foundations for Microsoft to offer a greater number of enterprise communications tools.
"Because it links to Exchange you have something like an overall communications structure and this is potentially quite powerful," said Jessica Figueras, senior analyst at Ovum.
"Some players will be threatened by this because, when you start linking this with Exchange, it can be quite powerful."
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