Lately, even though I use Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003 R2 daily, the most critical version of Windows for me has been Windows Mobile. The version of Microsoft Outlook running on my cell phone has kept me on track with various clients and projects, not to mention the slew of activities that two teenagers are involved in during the summer.

I’ve been looking for additional applications to enhance the capabilities of the phone for improving my workflow and simplifying my life. One application I found is Live Search for Windows Mobile (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/livesearch/default.mspx).

It’s an interesting little application--the baby brother of maps.live.com and Microsoft Live Search. I’ve used the mobile versions of other search applications, such as Google’s mobile Web site, but Live Search for Windows Mobile really is better than any of the Web-based tools I've used.

With a Bluetooth-enabled phone, you can get a deal on a portable GPS device and turn your phone into a companion GPS navigator, though anyone who is gadget-oriented enough to use a Windows Mobile phone is probably already using a dedicated GPD navigation system of some sort. Nonetheless, the Pharos Bluetooth GPS offered to Windows Mobile users at a 50 percent discount (see http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/livesearch/registerpopup.html) is a worthwhile buy if you don’t already have a navigation system or are looking for an inexpensive GPS to use with a notebook running a Microsoft navigation application.

However, the Live Search application has one serious drawback: It runs on your phone. Although this might seem to contradict my praise of the application, the issue isn't the application itself, but the way people use their phones. Using the phone to navigate while driving is a really bad idea. And typing and reading a 2.5” screen while you're moving doesn’t make for a good driving experience for other people on the road.

So if you're a Windows Mobile device user, check out the Live Search application and the Pharos GPS deal. But don’t investigate its capabilities while you're behind the wheel.