Microsoft rolls out Windows Mobile 6.1

Microsoft rolls out Windows Mobile 6.1

New OS includes mobile version of Internet Explorer

Microsoft has introduced a major update to its mobile software offerings.

The company unveiled a new version of Windows Mobile and a set of tools for businesses to manage mobile devices.

Both announcements were made in Las Vegas at the CTIA Wireless Expo.

Windows Mobile 6.1 is scheduled for the second half of the year. It will feature an easier set-up, better messaging features and support for new administrative tools.

The centrepiece of the operating system will be a new mobile version of Internet Explorer. The company promises that the browser will feature support for Silverlight, Flash and h.264 video.

"People want a single phone that is flexible enough to meet their needs throughout their day, whether connecting to work or your everyday life," said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division.

To manage the devices, Microsoft unveiled a new administrative system for large businesses.

System Center Mobile Device Manager will allow companies to manage the phones on a level Microsoft likens to that of managing a desktop PC.

Microsoft is also working on plans with several mobile carriers, including O2, Orange and Verizon, to offer a standard mobile services plan which would bundle devices, administrative tools and service plans into a single offering.

These offerings are also due to arrive in the second half of 2008.