As you might know, I'm based in Denver. I had planned to attend the Microsoft Mobility Developer Conference in New Orleans last month, but during that time, Denver experienced the snowstorm of the century. After spending 6 hours waiting to leave on the plane, the plane got stuck. Although I wasn't able to physically make it to the conference, some colleagues attended, so I want to discuss that event and its related announcements.

Microsoft is making large investments in the mobile and wireless industry, and the company targeted the Mobility Developer Conference at the development community for that industry. The conference featured many sessions about mobile and wireless development, the Windows .NET Compact Framework (a topic that I discussed in my last two Mobile & Wireless Perspectives columns), and related Microsoft technologies.

According to my colleagues who attended, the Mobility Developer Conference went well and was well received by attendees. However, my colleagues said that they expected to hear more about the release of the Windows Powered Smartphone. Instead, the conference sessions mainly focused on the Compact Framework and various other new Microsoft technologies.

One of the new Microsoft technologies discussed was the Microsoft Enterprise Location Server, which Microsoft plans to release later this year. Microsoft Enterprise Location Server will let you incorporate wireless-carrier Location-Based Services (LBS) information into enterprise applications. For example, you can use LBS information for field-service, intelligent-dispatch, and friend-finder applications. I'll provide an update on this product when more information becomes available.

During the week of the Mobility Developer Conference, both Sprint and Verizon Wireless announced that they'll be releasing Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)-based Pocket PC devices with integrated phones and cameras. This news is good for CDMA subscribers who have wanted a Pocket PC Phone Edition device, which has been available for quite some time from T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless.

During the conference, Research In Motion (RIM) announced that it will enable always-on BlackBerry messaging for Windows Powered Pocket PCs and Smartphones. This development means that RIM will provide the software that will let the Pocket PC and Smartphone work like a traditional BlackBerry device. Although this feature will be convenient for anyone who has a Pocket PC, I'm struggling to understand why RIM would provide such software. RIM makes most of its income on the BlackBerry devices, with the new General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and iDEN models gaining popularity. After Pocket PCs and Smartphones have always-on functionality, why would someone want a traditional BlackBerry device? I guess we'll have to see how this situation turns out.

In my next Mobile & Wireless Perspectives column on April 17, I'll continue my look at the Compact Framework. I'll discuss various best practices when using the Compact Framework.