Microsoft rolls out yet another mobile OS

Microsoft has introduced yet another mobile operating system targeted at businesses and enterprise users.

The Windows Embedded Handheld OS will be split into two versions for:

  • Ruggedized devices – based on Windows Mobile 6.5 technology, slated for end of 2010.
  • Enterprise handhelds – based on Phone 7, slated for second half of 2011.

“When we look at the [current] Windows Phone offering, it’s really geared towards smartphones,” explained Microsoft spokesperson David Kelley.

“But it doesn’t necessarily align with what is needed in the enterprise device or handheld world where you have requirements like…different input methods. Also, when you look at the lifecycle support, that doesn’t quite align with the consumer side of the business as well.”

Meanwhile, ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley noted that Microsoft now offered at least six different (and confusing) operating systems for mobile phones and devices.

“[MS] has two different phone operating systems — Windows Mobile 6.x and Phone OS 7.0. It [actually] has three if you count the Kin phone OS, which is a modified version of OS 7.0. [And] it has the just-launched Windows Embedded Handheld OS.

“[It also] has an OS for TVs, set-top boxes, kiosks and other embedded tasks, known as Windows Embedded Standard 7. [Then] it has Windows 7, which it is positioning as its OS for tablets and netbooks. And…[MS] has Windows Embedded Compact 7 for PC makers who want to create slates and other consumer mobile devices that run on non-Intel processors and use less battery power.”