Microsoft Extends .Net to PDAs With Beta

At its Mobility Developer Conference in London, Microsoft Wednesday announced the beta release of the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework.

At its Mobility Developer Conference in London, Microsoft Corp. Wednesday announced the beta release of the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework, a development environment that extends the companys .NET strategy to handheld devices and delivering on its mission to deliver Web services and rich computing on most any device.

The .NET Compact Framework delivers XML Web services on mobile devices such as the Pocket PC 2000, Pocket PC 2002 and other Windows CE-based devices, said David Rasmussen, lead product manager for Microsofts .NET Mobility Developer Platform.

John Montgomery, group product manager for Microsofts .NET Developer Platform said, as a subset of the .NET Framework, the .NET Compact Framework shares the same programming model and application development tools, enabling .NET developers to transfer their existing skills to build mobile applications.

Juha Christensen, corporate vice president of the Mobile Devices Group at Microsoft, made the announcement at the London conference. In a statement, Christensen said: "As the power of Microsoft .NET extends to wireless Pocket PCs and smart phone devices, the next generation of rich revenue-generating wireless applications and services will surge. Developers are key to creating applications and services that will deliver value and revenue to mobile operators, service providers and device manufacturers. The .NET Compact Framework will now enable millions of Visual Studio developers to automatically transfer their skills to mobile device development."

In addition, Montgomery said Microsoft also announced beta availability of the Smart Device Extensions (SDE) for Visual Studio .NET, an extension to the Visual Studio .NET integrated development environment (IDE) that targets the .NET Compact Framework. The SDE helps simplify mobile application development such as new project types, device emulator support, and remote debugging support and automatic deployment.

Rasmussen said Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition version 2.0 -- now in beta -- and the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit (MMIT) complement the .NET Compact Framework is complemented by other technologies such as SQL Server CE is the compact, relational database for rapidly developing applications that extend enterprise data management capabilities to new smart devices.

Rasmussen said Microsoft has some early adopter customers for the technology, including the Newport News Shipbuilding Co. and other early partners in the logistics and distribution space, CRM, project management and healthcare. He said the beta is available now with general availability coming by later this summer or in the third quarter of the year. Microsoft will release production versions of SQL Server CE 2.0 and the .Net Compact Framework around the same time.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen said the .Net Compact Framework is more flexible than the Java 2 Micro Edition specification in that it has built-in support for XML, security, enterprise class access and XML Web services. "Were focused on rich mobile devices like the Pocket PC and smart phones," he said. "J2ME is strictly in the consumer space. Its a toyish thing."