At the CTIA wireless industry trade show yesterday, among the scores of announcements, Microsoft said that it would be releasing a new and improved mobile IE browser for smart phones in the fall that promises to bring “desktop quality” to the mobile Internet experience. (Numerous others are engaged in this same pursuit, including Safari, Mozilla, Opera, and startup Skyfire.) The company also said that it was enhancing its Live Search client application for Windows Mobile and Blackberry smart phones.
Live Search for Windows Mobile already includes voice search capabilities for phones on the Sprint network. This functionality is being added to the application for Blackberry users. Blackberry has the largest market share among smart phones in the US (the iPhone is second).
The mapping enhancements for Live Search include the following:
Map a contact: For any people in your contacts list/address book, immediately view their address on a map and get directions there.
View Virtual Earth collections: View custom maps of locations and events that are created on the PC by you, your friends, or the broader community.
Microsoft launched “collections” on the desktop before Google introduced its user-generated My Maps, but Microsoft has been less aggressive in developing and promoting collections, generally speaking.
Mobile internet search is also going to be integrated into the Live Search application, so that users can initiate a mobile web search directly from the Live Search application rather than having to open the IE mobile browser. Currently the Live Search application has structured databases that it taps, but does not offer open mobile internet search.
The Live Search for Mobile application can be downloaded by going to wls.live.com on a supported mobile phone. The features announced are all forthcoming.