January 18, 2006

Cingular to Sell Phone with Microsoft Software

NEW YORK -- Cingular Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. cellphone service provider, said on Wednesday it would begin selling a mobile phone running the latest Microsoft Corp. software for mobile phones.

The Cingular-branded 2125 Smartphone, made by High Tech Computer Corp. will go on sale for $199 on Wednesday. Cingular, a venture of AT&T Inc and BellSouth Corp., is aiming the phone at both business and consumer customers, spokesman John Kampfe said.

It will be the U.S. first phone based on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 software that has a typical cellphone dial pad instead of a tiny computer-style keyboard.

Palm Inc and UTStarcom Inc. already sell phones in the United States using Windows Mobile 5.0 but these are aimed mostly at business customers and have small computer-like keyboards.

In the first half of the year Microsoft plans to provide a software upgrade that will let the phone automatically deliver e-mails from Microsoft's office e-mail system, potentially helping it compete better with Research In Motion.