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Windows Mobile 6 free to PDA manufacturers issuing upgrades

Windows Mobile 6When you buy a PC, it tends to come with an operating system pre-installed. But whether you're running a Mac, Linux, or Windows-based machine, odds are you've been able to reinstall, update, or change that operating system. That hasn't typically been the case with Windows Mobile devices (unless you count attempts to port Linux to various handhelds).

Early Pocket PCs had the OS built into ROM, and the only way to get an upgrade was to buy a new chip from your PDA manufacturer -- if they released one. Most modern Windows Mobile devices store the OS in flash memory, but updates tend to be device specific. And that can be expensive for PDA makers that have had to buy licenses from Microsoft, customize the new OS, and test it before sending it out. The result? Getting an official OS update for a Windows Mobile PDA has been the exception rather than the rule.

It looks like Microsoft's making it a little bit easier for manufacturers to release updates to Windows Mobile 6. The company is giving free licenses to any vendors who issue upgrades for their devices. Just because the license is free doesn't mean manufacturers won't charge the consumer. Customizing Windows Mobile 6 for each device is still a lot of work.

But does that mean we'll see updates issued for Dell Axim or HP iPaq models anytime soon? I wouldn't hold my breath. But it's possible.

Tags: osupdates, update, upgrade, windows mobile 6, WindowsMobile6