If the rumors are true, Microsoft is about to publicly announce what it has done with its Danger acquisition of some time back at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress next month. Other than more touchscreen devices, cloud-based mobile services and an application marketplace are two key things Microsoft needs to do to get competitive in the mobile sector again. It could be argued that Windows Mobile devices still sell big numbers and Microsoft is a definite player in mobile search, but the fact is the operating system continues to fall behind Apple, Research In Motion, and now Palm.
Expect Microsoft to knock a bunch of to-do’s off its list next month. Not only is Windows Mobile 6.5 one of the expected announcements (the pictures in this article are “genuine concept shots for the honeycomb web start menu”, according to neowin), but a trio of “Sky” services expected to be branded under Windows Live are on the announcement roster as well.
“SkyBox” is a service for users to sync a phones information with the web. Microsoft will be offering automatic backup and restore services, access and management of phone data and provide easy communication and sharing with others. The service will also allow syncing of contacts, email/SMS, calendar items and pictures into the cloud, similar to Apple’s MobileMe. The difference from Apple’s offering is Microsoft could be set to offer this out to non Windows Mobile devices.
“SkyLine” will be aimed at small businesses. Offering similar functionality to SkyBox, businesses will be able to setup their phones with Microsoft’s Exchange hosting with their own domain names.
“SkyMarket” was originally discovered in September 2008 when Microsoft advertised several external job positions. SkyMarket is the codename for Microsoft’s mobile marketplace, a competitor to Apple’s AppStore and RIM’s Blackberry application center. This service will only be available on Windows Mobile devices and will showcase the 1000s of Windows Mobile applications available today.
We’ve been aware of Microsoft’s plans for the SkyMarket app store since September thanks to some rather revealing job listings as mentioned above, but the cloud-based synchronization and backup services are unexpected.