Microsoft was an early adopter of the mobile device. Even as the .NET initiative was launching, Microsoft had released tools for the mobile warrior.
Microsoft's solutions come in a number of flavors. They are:
- Mobile .NET
- Window Mobile
- Windows Tablet PC Edition
Each solution is rich in functionality. As you might expect, XML and VB are common technologies that run through all four solutions.
The Mobile .NET is built deeply into the core of the .NET Framework from Microsoft. For most developers, this is most clearly demonstrated in web applications. Your solutions can be easily tagged within your ASP.NET programs so as to detect whether or not a mobile device is connecting to your site. If a mobile device is connecting, then ASP.NET controls will dynamically rewrite themselves to help serve the device connecting to it.
You can find examples of Mobile .NET development at Microsoft http://www.ASP.NET. Check out their whole section on mobile devices.
In addition to Microsoft's examples, you can also look at the open source Web Portal Solution at http://www.dotnetnuke.com. The DotNetNuke solution is an enterprise-wide portal tool that works for traditional web browsers, but also works for cell phone web browsers, PDA browsers, and more.
Microsoft's Windows Mobile is a complete operating system for portable devices that was founded upon Windows CE. Because this solution is an OS, you can build client applications. This also means that Windows Mobile has programs such as Word and Excel.
For more robust, tablet devices, such as the ViewSonic V1100 or the HP Compaq tc4200, Microsoft has a modified version of Windows XP called Windows Tablet PC Edition. This custom version of XP allows for users to use a stylus with the table as well as a mouse. In addition, you can also use full Windows XP solutions such as Office XP.
A little known, but equally exciting, technology from Microsoft is Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT). Essentially, this is a solution that allows you to build simple technologies into tiny devices, such as watches.
SPOT is also a wireless technology. You can check the weather and have the time on your watch updated automatically as you move from one time zone to another. You can also receive news feeds and sports results.
SPOT operates through updates that are broadcast over radio channels. Companies such as Fossil, the watch company, are already selling SPOT-enabled phones.