Windows Mobile 6.0, the upcoming version of Microsoft's mobile operating system will be unveiled next week. Aiming to make it a must-have upgrade, Microsoft is to include Office on the OS.

Mobile 6.0 will come with mobile versions of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint - whether handset manufacturers like it or not.
Business users will enjoy the upgrade, but smartphone makers who wish to use the limited storage for features other than Office will be out of luck.

John Starkwether, a product manager in the Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft, suggested that if a vendor really wants to exclude Office from the operating system, an accommodation might be possible.

Additional upgrades to the mobile OS include Microsoft's Direct Push Technology with automatic synchronisation of Outlook calendars, tasks, and contacts using Exchange Server.

For security and management, Mobile 6.0 will give mobile network managers the capability of remotely wiping out all data from a device should it be lost or stolen. Other security features include certificate options and storage card encryption.

Business users will also be pleased with the inclusion of mobile versions of the .Net Compact Framework and SQL Server to access a company's standard line of business applications remotely.

The Office applications are the most robust to date for the limited capacities of a mobile phone. Spellchecking in Word, though, is not included.

Email viewing will be easier on the eye with formatting, tables, and pictures viewable as originally generated.

One-click options for email, such as "reply all", moving a message to a subfolder and "delete" have been added to accommodate the restricted functionality of a small device.

Windows Vista users on the desktop will be able to swap music, pictures, movies and Outlook information between the Vista PC and the mobile device.

Windows Live will integrate mail, messenger, search, contacts, and spaces.

Call history is now placed inside the individual contact card.

Rob Enderle, principal at the Enderle Group, said that although there was "a lot of great stuff" in Mobile 6.0 Microsoft still has to focus on ease of use.

"Compared to the Apple iPhone with its simplified interface, Mobile 6.0 is still complex to use," Enderle said.

Devices with Windows Mobile 6.0 will ship worldwide in the second quarter.