Microsoft joined a host of other vendors demonstrating Web enabled phones at the Cebit trade show in Hannover, with models based on its lightweight operating system, Windows CE.
The software company previewed phones that combine traditional telephone services such as voice messaging and caller ID with enhanced data capabilities, including Internet access and email. The announcement was in conjunction with a number of telephone manufacturers, including Philips and Panasonic.
The telephones integrate the usual phone handset and numeric keypad with a touch screen display and keyboard. According to Microsoft, they are targeted at non PC consumers who want a low cost means of accessing the Internet, as well as households that already have a PC but want a second location in the house for more convenient access to Web or Internet services.
Jonathan Roberts, general manager of the information appliances division at Microsoft, commented: "For consumers, the telephone already represents a ubiquitous communications device. With Web enabled screenphones, consumers can have a fast, easy way to get significantly more value from a device they are already comfortable with."
The phones will include an address book, Caller ID, email, answering machine, as well as full Web browsing. The 640x480 touch screen will enable most Web pages to be displayed without modification.
While the initial phones will access the Internet via a standard analogue modem (33.6 kpbs), future Windows CE Web telephones will support ISDN and ADSL connections for higher speed access.
Executives at Microsoft said they expect the devices to start shipping within the next three to five months, priced between $300 and $500.
For more Cebit coverage in text and audio click here.
Antarctica lost on average 252 gigatons of ice mass per year from 2009 to 2017, claims study
Buyers can demand refunds if they've had a game for no more than 14 days and not registered more than two hours of play
Total lunar eclipse 2019: 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' to be visible across Europe and North America on Sunday night
Moon will turn reddish-orange in colour during this weekend's total lunar eclipse
Hackers to compete for prize money of between $35,000 and $250,000 cracking the Tesla Model 3 at this year's Pwn2Own contest