Microsoft's Stinger to enter trials this quarter

Microsoft 's much-talked-about smart phone operating system will enter carrier trials this quarter, a Microsoft executive said Tuesday.

Mobile phone handsets running the operating system -- code-named Stinger -- will enter trials this quarter with carriers including VoiceStream Wireless in the US, T-Mobil International AG in Germany and Telstra Corp.. in Australia, said Mary E. Starman, product manager with Microsoft's Mobile Devices Division.

Microsoft's Stinger platform will be used on smart phones manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric , Sendo PLC, Samsung Electronics Co., and Taiwan's High Tech Computer. (HTC). The latter deal was announced by Microsoft President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer in a speech here Tuesday at the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association) Wireless 2001 conference. Although Starman said it is still too early to say which carrier would test which handset, all four handsets have the potential of being released to the public in the fourth quarter of this year, she said.

"As the trials shake out, we'll have a better idea of which will come to market first," Starman said.

The announcement that HTC would manufacture a smart phone using Stinger topped off a flurry of announcements made by Ballmer at the conference, including a new model of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Jornada, which runs Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system. Ballmer also announced that Mitsubishi Wireless Communications will launch two phones in the first quarter of next year featuring Microsoft's Mobile Internet Explorer, a miniature version of Microsoft's Web browser. After all that, what comes next for Microsoft?

"What we need to do now is work with developers to bring something to market that will meet expectations," Starman said. "In the next six to nine months, we'll be focusing on delivering on our promises."

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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More about CTIAHewlett-Packard AustraliaHigh Tech ComputerMicrosoftMitsubishi AustraliaMitsubishi Electric AustraliaSamsungSamsung Electronics AustraliaSendoTelstra CorporationVoiceStream Wireless

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