The MSN network of online services announced that mobile operators can look forward to the release of Microsoft's first feature-rich mobile data service optimized for Windows Powered Pocket PCs and Smartphones before the end of the year.
Pocket MSN will for the first time deliver to subscribers an always-on experience that enables them to remain available to other online users and always up to date with e-mail, instant messaging (IM) and other online services without maintaining a continuous network connection to their mobile device. Subscribers also will have one-click access to MSN HotmailŪ and MSN Messenger - one of the most used e-mail and IM services in the world, with 110 million and 75 million active users, respectively. In addition, Pocket MSN will allow subscribers to wirelessly browse online and receive other MSN services, including MSN Alerts, which include news, sports and weather updates.
MSN plans to release Pocket MSN through mobile operators, with T-Mobile planning to offer the service in Europe before the end of the year. In addition to always-on services, the following Pocket MSN features and attractions will allow mobile operators to lure subscribers:
Integrated applications. A single click on an icon on the device's Today screen provides access to all Pocket MSN services, including Hotmail and MSN Alerts, which are integrated into the Pocket PC and Smartphone Inbox. Also, messages can be sent via Hotmail when MSN Messenger contacts aren't available to receive instant messages.
Offline services. Subscribers can access, compose and answer Hotmail messages offline, maximizing their time when mobile connections aren't available.
Personalized options. Subscribers can filter incoming Hotmail messages based on the sender, subject and size of the message. They can select which MSN Messenger contacts they want to be notified of their online availability.
"Familiar, easy-to-use mobile services are important to subscribers, as is the ability to remain available to online contacts via the same services at home, at work or on the go," said Russ Arun, general manager of MSN Mobile product development at Microsoft. "Mobile operators that offer these services will reap the rewards of increased subscriptions and more frequent, extended use of their offerings."
Pocket MSN: Designed for Mobile Networks
Pocket MSN will include a technology backbone designed for mobile networks. The service, which will be run from Microsoft's datacenter, will serve a variety of mobile networks, from short message service (SMS) to packet networks, such as 1xRTT, GPRS and 3G. Pocket MSN will minimize network traffic for mobile operators and reduce the subscriber costs associated with always-on services by eliminating the need to maintain a constant network connection. The connection will be restored when a new message arrives or when the subscriber needs the service. In addition, subscribers will receive only updates or changes to their contacts and Inbox -- rather than receiving entire lists -- when they connect to the service.
MSN brings to Pocket MSN Microsoft's experience in developing software for businesses, knowledge workers and consumers, and the growing presence of MSN in the mobile market. Currently, MSN Mobile offers subscription services to consumers in 21 countries across 36 carriers.
T-Mobile -- First Pocket MSN Operator
T-Mobile, one of the world's leading mobile communications companies, plans to be the first carrier to bring to market MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger mobile services through Pocket MSN in Europe. The company plans to deliver the service later this year and to debut a Windows Powered Smartphone in summer 2003 across its major markets.
T-Mobile plans to offer the messaging services within Pocket MSN as part of its best-of-breed data strategy, optimizing a wide range of compelling services to consumers across its market. "This cooperation with Microsoft shows our continuous commitment to making and shaping the mobile data market," said Nikesh Arora, chief marketing officer of T-Mobile.