Microsoft (MSFT) is planning to make a big splash at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. According to Microsoft watcher NeoWin, that includes a preview of the next edition of Windows Mobile and some new services for consumers and companies. These include:
- “SkyBox” — Similar to Apple’s MobileMe; sync contacts, email, calendar items.
- “SkyLine” — SkyBox for small businesses.
- “SkyMarket” — Microsoft’s mobile App Store.
These are no-brainer services from Microsoft — especially if the sync service is either free or cheap and the App Store gives developers a good cut.
One interesting idea NeoWin floats: SkyBox and SkyLine might work on non-Windows Mobile devices. For instance, a small business using Google Android or Nokia (NOK) Symbian-based devices might somehow be able to tap into them. But we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out.
Either way, they won’t be enough to boost Microsoft’s relevance in the new mobile software market. Microsoft needs to show off dramatically improved Windows Mobile software and improved handsets, or it will continue to lose mindshare to Apple (AAPL), BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM), Google (GOOG), and even Palm (PALM), whose new WebOS platform prototype looks good.
We don’t know specifics about the next version of Windows Mobile, but a plugged-in source in the mobile software industry tells us it’s pretty good.