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MS aims to straddle WAP, HTML with Mobile Explorer

While the folks back home leak like sieves, Mobile Explorer struts its stuff on the Riviera

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At the GSM World Congress in Cannes today Microsoft opened up some more about its plans for its Mobile Explorer microbrowser in the wireless market. And the first mobile phone to implement Mobile Explorer, the Q from Finnish company Benefon, was announced. But as Benefon wasn't even showing a working prototype, and is only promising the Q for Q3, its firstness is open to some doubt - Microsoft's partner Ericsson ought also to have units out by then. According to Microsoft group product manager, Kevin Dallas, the company's Mobile Explorer browser is handset o/s agnostic, has the ability to allow Microsoft to compete in both the feature phone space - where Phone.com with its WAP browser is currently king - and in the smartphone/PDA space where Symbian with its mobile software application suite is presently dominant. Crucially Mobile Explorer can dynamically configure itself to server type - switching to HTML or WAP mode as appropriate. Given the present lack of serious WAP content providers and ISPs, this provides mobile users with multiple means of accessing their email messages and data. Previously Microsoft partners Samsung and Sagem had announced Microsoft CE based handsets in aasociation with BT's technology trials, but their browsers were HTML only. Samsung is however tipped to go with Mobile Explorer shortly, and Sagem will no doubt follow suit. In a related announcement, Microsoft showed the latest version (3.50) of its Internet Cellular Smart Access (ICSA) email server built with technology from its recent acquisition of Sweden's Sendit. Thanks to support from both WAP and POP3 polling, operators using ICSA - which include the UK's One2One - can offer mobile users a single point of access to their email mailbox. ®

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