Telstra and Microsoft have announced a partnership to bring hosted mobile application and unified communication services to small businesses, including its own souped-up version of Windows Mobile developed locally.
After a global search to find a development partner for Windows Mobile, Telstra discovered Pointui, a Windows Mobile software design and development company based in Victoria.
The result is a unique - with some iPhone-looking parts - "skin" over Windows Mobile 6.1 that Telstra has configured for its portfolio of services and applications, like mobile e-mail, Facebook, and vertical apps like those, for example, used for fleet management.
General manager of rich mobile media at Telstra Scott Taylor said the UI is developed in simple scripts which Pointui's native Windows Mobile C# interpreter can easily update the interface if required.
Taylor said Telstra is keen to build its own ISV partnerships around the new UI, which just sits on top of Windows Mobile and does not require any fundamental changes to the operating system.
Other initiatives as part of the alliance include hosted Microsoft business applications like Exchange and SharePoint; integration with Mobile devices for data synchronisation and device management; and hosted unified communications for click-to-call, presence, and voice and video conferencing.
Telstra group managing director for product management, Holly Kramer, said Telstra and Microsoft would collaborate to deliver a "seamless one-click, one-touch user experience".
Microsoft and Telstra's ambition of offering UC in the cloud where all a customer needs is an Internet connection is still in the works, however, as the UC piece requires an on-site Office Communication Server for application integration.
"We are working towards a fully-hosted unified communications service," a Telstra representative said.