Today, Microsoft announced new versions of its Pocket PC and Windows Powered Smartphone software that are compatible with the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and broadband cell-phone networks widely used in North America. (Previously, Microsoft's designs were available only in Europe.) The releases are expected to jump-start Microsoft's cell-phone efforts in the United States. Hitachi and Samsung Electronics have pledged to support the CDMA-based Smartphones in new cell phones and mobile computers the companies will unveil later this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"Microsoft recognizes that our device manufacturer and mobile operator customers use different network technologies; with the recent growth of worldwide CDMA subscribers, the time is right for us to support this key technology," said Juha Christensen, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Mobile Devices Marketing Group. "With CDMA support for the Smartphone and Pocket PC, Microsoft hopes to ignite innovation and business opportunity, and delight users with smart, wireless computing on any network."

Microsoft's Smartphone software adds Pocket PC-like personal information manager (PIM) capabilities and Internet and multimedia functionality to compatible products, the company says. Using a stripped-down but recognizable Pocket PC-style interface, Smartphones provide email, Web browsing, to-do lists, calendaring, contact management, Pocket Office applications, and audio and video playback by using a small color screen.

Hitachi and Samsung will release their phones--the Multimedia Communicator N1 and the i700, respectively--by mid-2003. The companies haven't announced pricing or compatible mobile operators.

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