Microsoft teams up on specialty 3G handsets

Microsoft has teamed up with two Taiwanese companies to develop 3G handsets for business users in a bid to create gadgets that meet specific user needs.

Microsoft has teamed up with two Taiwanese companies to develop 3G handsets for business users in a bid to create gadgets that meet specific user needs.

The company is working with mobile phone maker Dopod International and service provider Chunghwa Telecom. The companies plan to launch one new "smart" 3G (third generation) handset, smart because of its computing ability, by the end of June, they said in a joint statement.

Companies have been trying to figure out new ways to meet the needs of specific user groups, particularly those willing to pay a premium for handsets, such as business users. While most users adapt themselves to one-flavor phones, others in specific groups or with special requirements have been asking for applications tailored to their needs.

A few of the applications that will be part of the new 3G handset the group is developing include push mail and RSS (rich site summary) news feeds.

Mobile phone makers such as Dopod, which is developing the actual handset as its part in this venture, have turned to niche markets to increase profits. Its important to them to figure out new ways to attract high paying users to increase growth, particularly at a time when poor countries are demanding lower and lower prices for their markets.

Microsoft's part in the trio will be to provide its latest mobile phone software, including continued development not just in handsets, but also in figuring out and meeting the needs of business users.

Chunghwa will market the 3G mobile phones to its high end customers and provide service.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service

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