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    Microsoft gonna Mash you Up


    Microsoft has launched a test programme for developers and service providers looking to launch “Mash Up” services combining telco services with all the fun of the Web 2.0 fair.

    Pieter Knook,  senior VP of the mobiole and embedded devices devision at Microsoft, said the test environment, called the Sandbox, is intended to provide a “safe”‘ place where developers, network equipment vendros and operators can test out new services.

    The Sandbox will initially offer a number of Microsoft products and solutions for participants to utilise, including itsConnected Services Framework, its Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration,its Solution for Windows-based Hosting and its Customer Care Framework.

    Creating the Sandbox will mean Mash Ups can be carried out ina  “managed” way, and of course in a Microsoft environment.

    Founding members include BT, Bell Cananda, Ubiquity, Ensim, Nortel and Syncast.

    Knook also announced the launch, in China, of Windows Mobile 5.0 based smartphones that could retail for under $250. The EDGE phones were based on Texas Instrument’s v1030 chipset, a single core solution whose development to support cheaper implementation of Windows Mobile OS was announced by Microsoft in partnership with TI at 3GSM in February.

    A single core solution means both the applications processor and the baseband comms processor can be integrated onto the same chip, reducing build cost. Or, you can still havea  dual core, but use the other chip to load more features onto.

    At the time of the Barcelona launch Microsoft said that Sagem and HTC were also lined up to produce devices based on the new chipset with the Windwos Mobile OS.

    Knook said he saw these phones, produced by manufacturer Amoi, as part of a range of devices targetting the more mass market end of the market. He said that Microsoft was keen to expand its market reach into other sectors to grow its market share in OS – which he describes as being “low but growing “currently.

    Of course Amoi’s phones are not 3G solutions (unless you are on of those who counts EDGE as 3G).

    But something that definitely is a 3G phone is the Samsung Ultra Messaging i600. Known in the States already as the Blackjack (with Cingular), this is a 5.0 based HSDPA capable phone that, as Samsung and Microsoft announced today, will be available in Asia Pacific and Europe in the first quarter of 2007.

    Cheaper smartphones?