Crossbow," the mobile OS is expected to hit sometime in the first half of 2007 under what can be assumed to be a Windows Mobile 6.0 moniker. Although, as the review points out, a full numeric update is a bit generous as it could just as well be dubbed Windows Mobile 5.0 Second Edition given the lack of new features. For that, you'll have to wait another few years for Photon which will finally unify the Pocket PC and Smartphone divisions -- it's the former (a near-RTM development version) under review. So, now that your expectations are fully deflated, what are we looking at? To start with, most of the new functions in Crossbow are meant to play nice with the 2007 release of Office and Exchange. Just to run down the highlights, we're getting a fully revamped Outlook Mobile app with new Vista-inspired sounds and themes, Windows Live integration featuring Live Search Mobile, Live Mail Mobile, Live Messenger Mobile (which, ironically, was first available on Symbian S60 3rd edition deivces) all available direct from the Today screen, VoIP (SIP) support bundled into the phone-related part of the system, and Smart Dial 2.0 integration for fast search through contacts just like WinMo 5.0 SmartPhone edition. We're still looking at a typical 64MB ROM / 64MB RAM footprint and a minimum 200MHz CPU. Overall, the system performance is speedier throughout due to continued efforts at optimization started with AKU 3.0. There are few more changes of course but what we're looking at here is not an attempt to leapfrog the competition, rather, Crossbow is an effort just to keep the pace which ain't all bad. Oh, and good news for HP and E-Ten device owners, you'll likely have the option of updating to the new OS via a firmware update -- everyone else had best get to pestering their manufacture or trolling the torrents for the bump.
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