Microsoft Supports CDMA

Microsoft announces that two of its handhelds can now run on CDMA networks.

Stepping up efforts to compete with the Symbian operating system, Microsoft Corp. last week announced that two of its handheld platforms now support Sprint PCS Groups and Verizon Wireless Inc.s high-speed wireless networks.

The Redmond, Wash., software maker said its Pocket PC Phone Edition and Smartphone operating systems now can run on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) 1xRTT networks. Previously, the software ran only on GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service) networks, which are supported by most European carriers and several carriers in the United States. However, Sprint and Verizon use CDMA, as do most U.S. cell phone subscribers.

"Now that weve addressed the worldwide GSM subscriber base, it seemed like a great moment to extend to the CDMA networks, giving us a whole new addressable market in North America and Korea, where CDMA is the prevailing standard," said Ed Suwanjindar, product manager for the mobility group at Microsoft.

The new release is identical to the GSM/GPRS product in all other respects, officials said. It will be sold directly to device manufacturers.

Hitachi Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. both showed new Pocket PC Phone Edition devices at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.

Along with the phone and mini versions of Microsofts Outlook, Word and Excel that come with all Pocket PC Phone Edition devices, Hitachis Multimedia Communicator Pocket PC features an integrated camera. It will be available by the middle of this year from Sprint, according to officials at Hitachi, in Brisbane, Calif.

Samsungs i700 includes a speakerphone, enabling customers to look for data and talk at the same time during conference calls. It will also be available in the first half of this year, according to company officials in Dallas. The officials declined to say which carriers would offer the device, but in the United States, Sprint and Verizon are the two major carriers that support CDMA.

The Smartphone operating system, which is designed strictly for phones and not phone/personal digital assistant combinations, has been slower to catch on than Pocket PC Phone Edition.