Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the 2009 Mobile World Congress   (Source: Microsoft)
AT&T will give free Wi-Fi access to Windows Mobile devices

IPhone users have been enjoying the app store and access to all sorts of programs for over a year now. With the success of the Apple App Store, most all other providers are bringing their own offerings to market as well.

Word that Microsoft would be unveiling its own app store for Windows Mobile devices turned up in early July with a launch date pegged as this fall. Microsoft announced today that its next generation of mobile devices running Windows Mobile 6.5, also known as Windows Phones, will launch on October 6. The new line of phones will be designed to work closely with the Windows Marketplace, which presumably will launch at the same time as the new phones.

“A Windows phone gives people a single phone that works for their whole life, keeping them connected to the people and information they care most about by harnessing the power of the PC, phone and Web,” said Todd Peters, corporate vice president of the Mobile Communications Marketing Group at Microsoft.

Microsoft had no trouble getting phone makers and mobile service provides and in North America mobile carriers for the new phones will be AT&T, Bell Mobility, Sprint, Telus, and Verizon Wireless. Phone makers working with Microsoft include HP, HTC, LG, Samsung, and Toshiba.

The phones will feature a new version of Internet Explorer Mobile with support for Flash Lite. Office Mobile will be featured on the new Windows Phones along with tight integration of social networking. The aforementioned application store will offer some features that are not currently found with other offerings including the ability for users to return apps for a full refund if they don’t like them.

Gizmodo reports that AT&T will also be offering free Wi-Fi service to Windows Mobile devices as well, ensuring that the new Windows Phones will have the same access to Wi-Fi as the iPhone and Blackberry devices have.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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