updated 02:25 pm EST, Fri December 14, 2007
WinMo and Safari
The next version of Microsoft's mobile OS beyond Windows Mobile 6.1 will be the first to directly tackle advancements brought about by the iPhone, according to statements the company has made at the recent Mobius conference and echoed by Engadget. The unnamed update will effectively port a desktop version of Internet Explorer to the handset environment to render web pages in a largely accurate manner similar to that of Apple's mobile Safari browser. Programs for managing music, photos, and other content will also be made easier to use than current incarnations.
A longer-term update will bring more dramatic changes, Microsoft says. The software developer hopes to make the interface much easier to use with fingers compared to today's OS, which includes numerous small elements that are often difficult to activate without a stylus. It would also include a global search feature similar to those found in Windows Vista or Mac OS X as well as a correlation feature that offers context-sensitive information such as e-mail addresses depending on current actions.
The web browser update may depend heavily on technology pioneered in the company's Deepfish project, which adds a whole-page view of a site and maintains the original layout rather than attempt to fit the contents to the smaller view window common to cellphones.
Microsoft has not issued a schedule for when it expects any of the updates to appear, though the firm is expected to release Windows Mobile 6.1 by early 2008 and typically does not issue frequent updates to the software.