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A Mobile New Year

The new year kicked off with a mobile slant, not surprising since the giant Consumer Electronics Show also kicked off this week in Las Vegas.

Microsoft got things rolling quickly at the event by telling its MSN Messenger users that it isn't about to let Skype consume all of its VoIP lunch. Deals with Philips Electronics and Uniden to make VoIP phones available for use with the new Windows Live Messenger should make Microsoft's VoIP partner MCI plenty relieved, but it will have to wait until Windows Live Messenger 8.0. is released later this year.

Speaking of Skype, Skype users learned that they will soon be able to make VoIP calls without their PCs acting as the mediator. The new Skype Internet PhonePLUS from Creative Labs Inc. is said to connect directly with a router via an Ethernet cable. The phone will be available in the spring.Palm finally swallowed the Microsoft pill in order to bolster its installed base with business users and delivered it's newest smartphone, the Treo 700w, the first Palm device to support Windows. The Treo 700w was available on the Verizon Wireless cellular service starting yesterday.

The Palm brass finally admitted in September that corporate IT was not going to support Palm if it didn't in turn support the existing Windows application infrastructure. One might also assume that they grew tired of seeing their market share getting clipped to the point of domination by Windows-based devices.

The good news is that Palm doesn't want to deliver just another Windows-based handheld device. And that's part of the reason why Palm was so late in coming to the Microsoft table. While some of the new features found in the Treo 700w are decidedly Windows, Palm also added some of its own touches with many Palm-like features that PalmOS customers have grown accustomed to.

The new Treo device will knick you for about $400 if you sign up for two-year's worth of service.

Yahoo Unteathered
Also interesting to note that Yahoo is going mobile, literally, as the Web portal is launching today its Yahoo Go Mobile service at the Consumer Electronics Show. Yahoo said anyone with a Yahoo account can now have their customized data load itself automatically to their mobile devices.

At launch, the only devices supported will be the Nokia Series 60 smartphones, but Yahoo said that eventually users will be able to sync up with any cellular or Wi-Fi network. Motorola is said to be working with Yahoo to bring the service to its devices. Nokia has reportedly signed a deal to pre-install the service on certain devices and Cingular Wireless will promote Yahoo Go Mobile.