Phones running Windows Mobile are among the most powerful and feature rich products around the moment. Microsoft designed Windows Mobile to bring many of the features of desktop PCs to portable devices, so the OS includes cut down versions Internet Explorer and Outlook along with Windows Media Player for listening to music or watching movies.
The latest version of the operating system is Windows Mobile 6. For this update, Microsoft has redesigned the interface slightly to make it more consistent, improved the Bluetooth support and added the ability to view HTML emails in Outlook. The Office Mobile applications used to be only offered on larger form factor devices such as PDAs, but now with Windows Mobile 6, they are also available on the smaller, more traditional looking Windows smartphones.
The update is not really a huge change from the previous version so many devices are still being launched that use Windows Mobile 5. However, Microsoft is due to release a much more significant update for the next version, which is currently codenamed Photon. This is expected to be released sometime next year.
One of the strengths of Windows Mobile devices is that they are available in a range of different sizes and form factors. You'll find standard looking handsets like SPV C500 or HP iPAQ 514 sitting alongside phones with larger screens such as the HTC Touch. There are also many messenger devices like the Motorola Q 9 and Palm Treo 750v available, while those looking for larger form factor PDAs will find a wealth of options on offer from manufacturers like HP and i-Mate.
With such a wide variety of handset to choose from it's important to spend a bit of time picking one that's rights for you. We'd always advise you to look for a handset with lots of memory for storing your documents, pictures and music. For RAM, a sensible amount is 256MB, although do bear in mind that most of Windows Mobile phones have an SD or microSD card slot to allow you to easily add more memory.
If you're going to make heavy use of the Web browser or video player, then a handset with a larger screen is a must as otherwise you'll spend all your time scrolling Web pages around on your phone's display. If you're the type that spends all your time checking and sending emails then you'd be better off with one of the messenger-style devices that have a full Qwerty keyboard as it's much faster to type out email replies with a real keyboard than trying to tap in replies using a virtual one onscreen.
Whatever handset you choose there's no doubting that Windows Mobile is a powerful platform that offers a top class Web experience and powerful email features alongside impressive multimedia features.