Microsoft's new enterprise mobile OS coming this year

Microsoft will release a new mobile OS for enterprise handheld devices later this year as it tries to simplify the Windows Mobile upgrade cycle for customers, the company said Thursday.

The Windows Embedded Handheld OS will come out later this year and will be based on the Windows Mobile 6.5 technology, said David Kelley, product unit manager for Windows Embedded at Microsoft, at an event in New York.

In 2011, the company will release a new version of Windows Embedded Handheld, which will be based on Windows Embedded Compact 7 OS, Kelley said. The OS will feature a richer and immersive user experience, and improve on reliability and security features, Kelley said.

The company wants to provide backward compatibility and a clear upgrade path from Windows Mobile 6.5 to the upcoming operating systems, Kelley said. That should extend the lifecycle of devices such as smartphones.

Microsoft announced Windows Embedded Compact 7 last month as the next generation of the Windows Embedded CE platform. The OS can be used in embedded systems such as in set-top boxes and slates.

The company has announced the Windows Phone 7 OS for smartphones. Microsoft's focus on consumer mobile devices will continue through the Windows Phone brand, Kelley said.

The announcement came at the launch of Motorola's ES400 Enterprise Digital Assistant, a smartphone designed for enterprise use. It runs on the Windows Mobile 6.5 OS.

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